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at Paul's Work, Edinburgh 


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Translations from Irish Gaelic Poetry into 
English Prose and Verse 





191 3 

All rights reserved 


(Where not otherwise indicated, the translation or 
poetic setting is by the author.) 




I. The Creation of the Universe .... 3 

II. The Heavenly Kingdom n 

III. The Forbidden Fruit . . . : ". ! ' . 20 

IV. The Fall and Expulsion from Paradise . . 22 
V. The Penance of Adam and Eve . . 31 

VI. The Death of Adam 43 


The Source of Poetic Inspiration (founded on transla- 
tion by Whitley Stokes) . .,.-.. 53 

Amorgen's Song (founded on translation by John 

MacNeill) 57 



The Song of Childbirth 59 

Greeting to the New-born Babe . . . .61 

What is Love ? 62 

Summons to Cuchulain .... -63 

Laegh's Description of Fairy-land .... 65 
The Lamentation of Fand when she is about to 

leave Cuchulain 69 

Mider's Call to Fairy- land 71 

The Song of the Fairies . . . A. H. Leahy 73 
The great Lamentation of Deirdre for the Sons of 

Usna 74 


First Winter-Song . . Alfred Per civ al Graves 81 

Second Winter-Song 82 

In Praise of May . . . . T. W. Rollesion 83 
The Isle of Arran . . , . . . -85 
The Parting of Goll from his Wife .... 87 

Youth and Age 91 

Chill Winter 92 

The Sleep-song of Grainne over Dermuid . . 94 
The Slaying of Conbeg .... -97 

The Fairies' Lullaby 98 

Song of the Forest Trees . Standish Hayes O'Grady 99 




St. Patrick's Breastplate . . . Kuno Meyer 105 

Patrick's Blessing on Munstcr A If red Perceval Graves 107 

Columcille's Farewell to Aran . . Douglas Hyde 109 

St. Columba in lona . . Eugene O' Curry in 

Hymn to the Dawn . . . ..,.,;.,., "3 
The Song of Manchan the Hermit . . . .117 

A Prayer ,,....,.},....,[...., . 119 

The Loves of Liadan and Curithir . .f!,i;i>i? 121 

The Lay of Prince Marvan . ;,^.;;.j?.. ir- .:*-,. . 125 
The Song of Crede, daughter of Guare 

Alfred Perceval Graves 130 

The Student and his Cat . T *'* r...f. Robin Flower 132 

The Song of the Seven Archangels . Ernest Rhys 1 34 

The Feilire of Adamnan . . . P. J. McCall 136 

The Feathered Hermit . n -\. w-a frl ,d /p. U- ;<"'' . 138 

An Aphorism . .- , e^*t'\uwc^*&)d lv>' . 138 

The Blackbird 139 

Deus Meus .... George Sigerson 140 

The Soul's Desire . .- .- V< . . . 142 

Tempest on the Sea . . . Robin Flower 144 
The Old Woman of Bears . . . . .147 
Gormliath's Lament for Nial Black-knee. . .151 



The Mother's Lament at the Slaughter of the 

Innocents . . . Alfred Perceval Graves 153 

Consecration . 156 

Teach me, O Trinity 157 

The Shaving of Murdoch Slandish Hayes O'Grady 159 

Eileen Aroon . 161 


The Downfall of the Gael . Sir Samuel Ferguson 165 
Address to Brian O'Rourke " of the Bulwarks " to 

arouse him against the English . . .169 
O'Hussey's Ode to the Maguire 

James Clarence Mangan 172 
A Lament for the Princes of Tyrone and Tyrconnell 

James Clarence Mangan 176 

The County of Mayo . . . George Fox 182 

The Outlaw of Loch Lene Jeremiah Joseph Callanan 184 

The Flower of Nut-brown Maids 

. 186 
. 188 

My Dark Rosaleen . . James 
The Fair Hills of Eire 
Shule Aroon .... 
Love's Despair .... 
The Cruiskeen Lawn 

Clarence Mangan 190 
George Sigerson 194 
. (Traditional) 196 
George Sigerson 198 
George Sigerson 200 



Eamonn an Chnuic, or " Ned of the Hill " 

P. //. Pcarse 202 

O Druimin donn dilish 204 

Do you Remember that Night ? Eugene O' Curry 206 

The Exile's Song 208 

The Fisherman's Keen . . . (Anonymous) 210 

Boatman's Hymn . . Sir Samuel Ferguson 213 
Dirge on the Death of Art O'Leary . . .215 

The Midnight Court (Prologue) .... 224 


Hymn to the Virgin Mary 229 

Christmas Hymn .... Douglas Hyde 231 

O Mary of Graces .... Douglas Hyde 232 

The Cattle-shed .... ,/ :. . 233 

Hail to Thee, O Mary 234 

Mary, O blessed Mother 235 

1 rest with Thee, O Jesus . . . . ' 236 

Thanksgiving after Food . . . . . .236 

The Sacred Trinity 237 

King of the Wounds . . . .'..:. 237 
Prayer before going to Sleep 238 

1 lie down with God 239 

The White Paternoster 240 



Another Version 241 

A Night Prayer 243 

Mary's Vision 243 

The Safe-guarding of my Soul be Thine . . . 244 

Another Version 244 

The Straying Sheep 246 

Before Communion 246 

May the sweet Name of Jesus. .... 247 

O Blessed Jesus 248 

Another Version 248 

Morning Wish . 249 

On Covering the Fire for the Night . ; . 249 

The Man who Stands Stiff . . Douglas Hyde 250 
Charm against Enemies . . . Lady Wilde 
Charm for a Pain in the Side . . Lady Wilde 
Charm against Sorrow . . . Lady Wilde 
The Keening of Mary . . . P. H . Pearse 


Cushla ma Chree 
The Blackthorn 
Pastheen Finn . 
She . 

Hopeless Love . 
The Girl I Love 




Edward Walsh 259 


Sir Samuel Ferguson 263 



Jeremiah Joseph Callanan 267 



Would God I were . Katharine Tynan-Hinkson 268 
Branch of the Sweet and Early Rose 

William Drennan 269 

Is truagh gan mise I Sasana Thomas MacDonagh 270 

The Yellow Bittern . . . Thomas MacDonagh 271 

Have you been at Carrack ? . . Edward Walsh 273 

Cashel of Munster . . Sir Samuel Ferguson 275 

The Snowy-breasted Pearl . . George Petrie 277 

The Dark Maid of the Valley . . P. J. McCall 279 

The Coolun . . . Sir Samuel Ferguson 281 

Ceann dubh dhileas . . Sir Samuel Ferguson 283 

Ringleted Youth of my Love . . Douglas Hyde 284 

I shall not Die for You . . . Padraic Colum 286 

Donall Oge ., ,. , . , ........ . 288 

The Grief of a Girl's Heart . . . . .291 

Death the Comrade 294 

Muirneen of the Fair Hair . . Robin Flower 296 

The Red Man's Wife . . . Douglas Hyde 298 

Another Version 299 

My Grief on the Sea . . . Douglas Hyde 302 

Or6 Mhor, a Mhdirin . . . P. J. McCall 304 

The little Yellow Road Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil 306 

Reproach to the Pipe . . . . . . 308 

Lament of Morir.n Shehone for Miss Mary Bourke 

(Anonymous) 311 



Modereen Rue . Katherine Tynan-Hinkson 314 

The Stars Stand Up 316 

The Love-smart 318 

Well for Thee 319 

I am Raftery Douglas Hyde 320 

Dust hath Closed Helen's Eye . Lady Gregory 321 

The Shining Posy 324 

Love is a Mortal Disease 326 

I am Watching my Young Calves Sucking . . 328 

The Narrow Road 329 

Forsaken 332 

I Follow a Star . Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil 334 


Nurse's Song (Traditional) 337 

A Sleep Song P. H . Pearse 339 

The Cradle of Gold . . Alfred Perceval Graves 340 

Rural Song 341 

Ploughing Song 342 

A Spinning-wheel Ditty 344 

NOTES , 4 349 


"An air is more lasting than the voice of the birds, 
A word is more lasting than the riches of the world." 

THE truth of this Irish proverb strikes us forcibly as we 
glance through any such collection ot Gaelic poetry as this, 
and consider how these lays, the dates of whose composi- 
tion extend from the eighth to the present century, have 
been preserved to us. 

On the border of some grave manuscript, such as a Latin 
copy of St. Paul's Epistles or a transcript of Priscian, a stray 
quatrain may be found jotted down by the tired scribe, 
recording in impromptu verse his delight at the note of a 
blackbird whose song has penetrated his cell, his amuse- 
ment at the gambols of his cat watching a mouse, or his 
reflections on a piece of news brought to him by some 
wandering monk, about the terror of the viking raids, or a 
change of dynasty " at home in Ireland." 

Several of our Ossianic poems are taken from a manu- 
script of lays collected in 1626-27 in and about the Glens 
of Antrim, and sent out to while away the tedium of 
camp life to an Irish officer serving in the Low Countries, 
who wearied for the poems and stories of his youth. The 
religious hymns of Murdoch O'Daly (Muredach Alba- 
nach), called " the Scot " on account of his affection for 
his adopted country, though he was born in Connaught, 



are preserved in a collection of poems gathered in the 
Western Highlands, many Irish poems, even from so 
great a distance as Munster, being found in it. 

The Saltair na Rann or " Psalter of the Verses," the 
most important religious poem of ancient Ireland, is 
preserved in one copy only. It seems as though a 
miracle had sometimes intervened to guard for later 
generations some single version of a valuable tract at 
home or abroad ; but it is a miracle which we could 
have wished to have taken place more often, when we 
reflect upon the large number of manuscripts forever lost 
to us. 

Many of the most beautiful of the ancient poems, as 
well as of the popular songs, are anonymous ; they are 
frequently found mixed up with material of the most 
arid description, genealogies, annals, or miscellaneous 
matter. It is easier to guess from the tone of the poems 
under what mood of mind they were composed than to 
tell exactly who wrote them. Even when they come 
down to us adorned with the name of some well-known 
saint or poet, we have an uncertain feeling about the 
accuracy of the ascription, when we find a poem whose 
language cannot be earlier than the tenth or eleventh 
century confidently connected with a writer who lived 
two or three centuries earlier. In some cases, no doubt, 
the versions we possess, though modernised in language 
and rhythm, are in reality old ; in others the ascription 
probably bears witness to the desire of the author or his 
public to win esteem for his work by adorning it with 
some famous name. Some of these poems, of which only 
one copy has come down to us, were, however, well 
known in an earlier day, and are quoted in old tracts on 
Irish metric as examples of the metres used in the bardic 


schools. It is evident that though standards of taste 
may change, the recognition of what is really beautiful 
in poetry remains as a settled instinct in man's nature. 
Many of those poems which now appeal most strongly 
to ourselves took rank as verses of acknowledged merit 
nearer to the time of their composition. This we can 
deduce from their use as examples worthy of imitation 
in these mediaeval Irish text-books, where the names of 
songs we still admire are quoted as specimens of good 

It is remarkable that a very large proportion of fine 
poetry comes to us from the period of the Norse invasions, 
a time which we are accustomed to think of as one con- 
tinuous series of wars, raids, and burnings ; but which, 
if we may judge by what has come down to us of its verse, 
shows us that the Irish gentleman of that day had ideas 
of refinement that raise him far above the mere fighting 
clansman ; his critical view of literature was a severe one. 
The fine freedom shown in many of these poems is sur- 
prising, both as regards the sentiments and the metres. 
They possess a mastery of form that argues a high culti- 
vation, not only of the special art of poetry, but of the 
whole intellectual faculties of the writers. 

Some of these poems are strangely modern, even fin 
de siecle in their tone. The poem of the " Old Woman 
of Beare " has often been compared to Villon's " Regrets 
de la Belle Heaulmiere ja parvenue a viellesse," or to 
Beranger's " Grand'mere." But the Irish poem is far 
more artistically wrought than either of these compara- 
tively modern poems. For in the ancient verses, the old 
woman is set, a lonely and forsaken figure, against the 
background of the ebbing tide, and the slow throbs of 
her heart, worn with age and sin, beat in unison with the 


retreating motion of the wave. There is also a further 
significance in the poem which we must not miss. It is 
the earliest of the long series of allegorical songs in which 
Ireland is depicted under the form of a woman ; though, 
unlike her successors of a later day, she is here represented, 
not as a fair maiden, a Grainne Mhaol, or Kathleen ni 
Houlahan, or Little Mary Cuillenan, but as an aged joy- 
less hag, forlorn and censorious, bemoaning the loss of 
bygone pleasures, and the gravity of her nun's veil. The 
'* Cailleach Bheara," the " Hag " or " Nun of Beare " is 
known in many place-names in Ireland. It is on Slieve 
na Callighe, or the " Hill of the Hag " or " Nun," in 
Co. Meath that the great cairns and tumuli of Lough 
Crew are found ; it was evidently, like the neighbour- 
hood of the Boyne, a place of pagan sanctity ; and such 
names as Tober na Callighe Bheara, the " Well of the Hag 
of Beare," are found in different parts of the country. 
The " Hag of Beare " seem: to be symbolic of pagan 
Ireland, regretting the stricter regime of Christianity, 
and the changes that time had brought about. The 
curious legend which prefaces the poem suggests the 
same idea. She is said to have seen seven periods of 
youth, and to have outlived tribes and races descended 
from her. For a hundred years of old age she wore the 
veil of a nun. " Thereupon old age and infirmity came 
upon her." We catch the same note of regret for the 
days of paganism through many legends and poems. It 
is mystical and veiled in such stories as that of " King 
Murtough and the Witch-woman " ; it is fierce, but also 
often touched by the grotesque, in the innumerable 
colloquies between Patrick and Oisin (Ossian), the last 
of the ancient pagan heroes. But in all this there is a 
note of apology. It is not so outspoken in its revolt 


against the new system of life and thought as are the 
Norse chronicles and the Icelandic Sagas. After all, 
Christianity was an accomplished thing ; quietly but 
persistently it took its place, sweeping into its fold chiefs 
and common folk alike. No resistance could stop this 
universal progress. And the literary man or the peasant, 
dwelling on his early legends, the outcome of a state of 
thought passed or passing away, dared only half-heartedly 
bemoan the former days, when wars and raids, the 
" Creach " and the " Tain " were the highest way of 
life for a brave man, and no Christian doctrine of forgive- 
ness of enemies and charity to foes had come in to perplex 
his thoughts and confuse their issues. The Raid re- 
mained, it was an essential part of actual life ; and 
burnings and wars went on as before, but they were 
no longer, theoretically, at least, matters to win praise 
and honour, they were condemned beforehand by the 
Christian ethic. A chief, to hold his own, must still 
throw open doors of hospitality to his tribe, must dispense 
largesse to all-comers, must gather about his board the 
neighbours and dependents in riotous assemblies and 
festivals. But all this the Christian monk and priest 
looked upon with suspicion ; they bade him fill his 
thoughts with a future Kingdom, rather than with the 
earthly one to which he had been born, and to keep his 
soul in humble readiness by prayers and fastings, by 
seclusion and self-sacrifice. The great disjointure is 
everywhere apparent ; chiefs are seen flying from their 
plain duties to their clans in order to win a heavenly 
chiefdom, not of this world ; kings retire into hermitages, 
and whole villages take on the aspect and system of life 
of the monastery. To escape a network of religious 
service so closely spread throughout the country was 


impossible ; all that the half-convinced could do was to 
relieve his soul in legend and song and jest. Hence the 
large amount of this literature of protest, coming to us 
curiously side by side with poems breathing the very 
spirit of religious devotion, the work of peaceful recluse 
or retired monk. 

For the movement had its other aspect. If the warrior 
or chief resigned much in becoming a Christian monk, 
there is no doubt that he gained as well. Contempor- 
aneous religious poetry in the Middle Ages is elsewhere 
overshadowed by the cast of theologic thought. The 
" world " from which the saint must flee is no mere 
symbol, denoting the perils of evil courses ; it is the actual 
visible earth, its hills and trees and flowers, and the beauty 
of its human inhabitants that are in themselves a danger 
and a snare. St. Bernard walking round the Lake of 
Geneva, unconscious of its presence and blind to its 
loveliness, is a fit symbol of the tendency of the religious 
mind in the Middle Ages. Sin and repentance, the fall 
and redemption, hell and heaven, occupied the religious 
man's every thought ; beside such weighty themes the 
outward life became almost negligible. If he dared to 
turn his mind towards it at all, it was in order to extract 
from it some warning of peril, or some allegory of things 
divine. In essence, the " world " was nothing else than a 
peril to be renounced and if possible entirely abandoned. 

But the Irish monk showed no such inclination, 
suffered no such terrors. His joy in nature grew with his 
loving association with her moods. He refused to mingle 
the idea of evil with what God had made so good. If he 
sought for symbols, he found only symbols of purity and 
holiness. The pool beside his hut, the rill that flowed 
across his green, became to his watchful eye the mani- 


festation of a divine spirit washing away sin ; if the birds 
sang sweetly above his door, they were the choristers of 
God ; if the wild beasts gathered to their nightly tryst, 
were they not the congregation of intelligent beings 
whom God Himself would most desire ? The friendly 
badgers or foxes of the wood that came forth, undismayed 
by the white or brown-robed figure who seemed to have 
taken up his lasting abode amongst them, became to 
his mind fellow-monks, authorised members of his 
strange community. Amongst his feathered and furred 
associates, he read his Psalms and Hours in peace ; sang 
his periodic hymn to St. Hilary or St. Brigit, and per- 
formed his innumerable genuflexions and " cross-vigils." 
Here, from time to time, he poured forth in spontaneous 
song his joy in the life that he had elected as his own. 
When King Guaire of Connaught stands at the door of 
the hermitage in which his brother Marvan had taken 
refuge from the bustle of court life, and asks him why he 
had sacrificed so much, Marvan bursts forth into a poem 
in praise of his hermit life, and the King is fain to con- 
fess that the choice of the recluse was the wiser one ; 
when St. Cellach of Killala is dragged into the forest 
by his comrades and threatened with death, not even the 
sight of the four murderers lying at his feet with swords 
ready drawn in their hands to slay him can prevent him 
from greeting the Dawn in a beautiful song. 

The saint who, like St. Finan, lived shut up within 
his cell, in many cases lost his mental balance, and de- 
generated into a mere Fakir, winning heaven by the 
miseries of his self-imposed mortifications ; but the 
monk who trusted himself to untrammelled intercourse 
with nature, preserved his underlying sanity. For 
whether or no the hundreds of daily genuflexions were 


performed, the patch of ground around the solitary's 
cell must be ploughed or sown or reaped ; the apples 
must be gathered or the honeysuckles twined. The 
salmon or herring must be netted or angled for. Thus 
nature and its needs kept the hermit on the straight and 
simple paths of physical and mental healthfulness, how- 
ever he might try to escape into a wilderness of his own 

The early poetry, we feel, is on the whole joyous ; 
whether pagan or Christian in tone, it arises from a happy 
heart. The pagan is more robust, more vigorous ; the 
Christian gentler and more reflective ; but alike they are 
free from the mournful note of despair that throws a 
settled gloom over much of the later literature. 

The Ossianic poems have quite a distinctive tone ; 
in them we catch the abounding energy belonging to the 
days of the hunt of the wild native boar or stag, when all 
the country was one open hunting-ground, fit for men 
whose ideal was that of the sportsman and the warrior. 
Besides romantic tales, we have a whole body of poetry, 
loosely strung together under the covering name of 
Oisin, or Ossian, and usually ascribed to him or to 
Fionn mac Cumhall, his father and chief, dealing with the 
themes of war and of the chase. They are often in the 
nature of the protest of the fighting and hunting-man 
against the claims of religion. He is perpetually proclaim- 
ing that the sounds and sights of the forest and sea- 
shore are more dear to him than any others, and when he is 
called upon to give the first place to the duties of religion, 
placed before him, as it usually is, in its most enfeebling 
aspect, he raises the stout protest that the hunting- 
horn has greater attractions for him than the tinkling 
bell which calls to prayer. 


I have heard music sweeter far 
Than hymns and psalms of clerics are ; 
The blackbird's pipe on Letterlea, 
The Dord Finn's wailing melody. 

' The thrush's song of Glenna-Scal, 
The hound's deep bay at twilight's fall, 
The barque's sharp grating on the shore, 
Than cleric's chants delight me more." 

There is the ring of the obstinate pagan about such 
verses ; and many poems are wholly occupied by an un- 
holy wrangling between the representative of the old 
order, Oisin, and the representative of the new, St. 
Patrick. The poems themselves probably date from a 
far later period than either. 

More healthy are the true hunting songs. Many of 
these are in praise of the Isle of Arran, in the Clyde, a 
favourite resort during the sporting-season both for the 
Scottish and Irish huntsman. In the poem we have 
called " The Isle of Arran," from the " Colloquy of the 
Ancient Men," the charm of the Isle is well described. 
We have in it the same pure joy in natural scenery that 
we find in the poems of the religious hermits, but the 
tone is manlier and more emphatic. 

Occasionally a fiercer note creeps into the hunter's 
mood. The chase of the boar and deer was not without 
its dangers. Winter, and the unfriendly clan hard by, 
or the lean prowling wolf at night, were real terrors to 
the small companies encamped on the open hill-side or 
in the forest. Though the warrior in peaceful times 
loved the chase of swine and stag, his hand had done and 
was always ready to do sterner work when opportunity 
offered. The poem " Chill Winter " has a note of almost 


savage exultation ; the old fighter turns from his present 
perils and discomforts to remember the warrior on- 
slaughts which had left the glen below him silent, and its 
once happy inhabitants cold in death ; colder, as he 
gladly reflects, than even he himself feels on this chill 
winter's night. It is the voice of the ancient warrior, 
who thought no shame of slaying, but thanked God when 
he had knocked down his fellow. Whether he, in his 
turn, were the undermost man, or whether he escaped, 
he cared not at all. 

Two difficulties face the modern reader in coming for 
the first time upon genuine Irish literature, whether 
poetry or prose. The first is the curious feeling that we 
are hung between two worlds, the seen and the unseen ; 
that we are not quite among actualities, or rather that we 
do not know where the actual begins or where it ends. 
Even in dealing with history we may find ourselves 
suddenly wafted away into some illusory spirit-world with 
which the historian seems to deal with the same sober 
exactness as in detailing any fact of ordinary life. The 
faculty of discerning between the actual and the imagi- 
nary is absent, as it is absent in imaginative children ; 
often, indeed, the illusory quite overpowers the real, as 
it does in the life of the Irish peasant to-day. 

There is, in most literatures, a meeting-place where the 
Mythological and the Historic stand in close conjunction, 
the one dying out as the other takes its place. Only in 
Ireland we never seem to reach this point ; we can never 
anywhere say, " Here ends legend, here begins history." 
In all Irish writing we find poetry and fact, dreams and 
realities, exact detail and wild imagination, linked closely 
hand in hand. This is the Gael as revealed in his litera- 
ture. At first we are inclined to doubt the accuracy of 


any part of the story ; but, as we continue our examina- 
tion, we are surprised at the substantial correctness of the 
ancient records, so far as we are able to test them, whether 
on the historical or on the social side. The poet is never 
wholly poet, he is also practical man ; and the historian 
is never wholly chronicler and annalist, he is also at the 
back of his mind folklorist, lover of nature, dreamer. It 
is the puzzle and the charm of Ireland. 

A good example of this is the very beautiful anonymous 
Irish poem, rich in poetic imagery, addressed to Ragnall 
or Reginald, son of Somerled, lord of the Isles from 1164- 
1204. This poem, written for an historical prince, 
begins with a description of the joys of the fairy palace, 
" Emain of the Apples," whence this favoured prince is 
supposed by the poet to have issued forth : 

" Many, in white grass-fresh Emain, 
Of men on whom a noble eye gazes 
(The rider of a bay steed impetuously) 
Through a countenance of foxglove hue, 

Shapely, branch-fresh. 

" Many, in Emain of the pastures, 
From which its noble feast has not parted, 
Are the fields ploughed in autumn 
For the pure corn of the Lord's Body." 

The poet's mind wanders from the ancient Emain, 
capital of Ulster, to the allegorical Emain, the dwelling 
of the gods or fairy-hosts, who were thought of as in- 
habiting the great tumuli on the Boyne ; again, he trans- 
plants his fairy-land to the home of Ragnall, and seems 
to place it in Mull or the Isle of Man, which was indeed 
the especial abode of Manannan, the Ocean-god and 
Ruler of Fairy-land. 


" What God from Brugh of the Boyne, 
Thou son of noble Sabia, 
Thou beauteous apple-rod 
Created thee with her in secret ? 

" O Man of the white steed, 
O Man of the black swan, 
Of the fierce band and the gentle sorrow, 
Of the sharp blade and the lasting fame. 

" Thy fair side thou hast bathed, 
The grey branch of thy eyes like summer showers, 
Over thy locks, O descendant of Fergus, 
The wind of Paradise has breathed." l 

We recognise that this is fine poetry, but we feel also 
that it needs a specialised education thoroughly to under- 
stand it. The world from which it hails is not our world, 
and to comprehend it we must do more than translate, we 
must add notes and glossary at every line ; but no poetry, 
especially poetry under the initial disadvantage of a trans- 
lation, could retain its qualities under such treatment. 

In all the ancient verse we meet with these obstacles. 
Even much of the most imaginative Ossianic poetry be- 
comes too difficult from this point of view for the 
untrained reader. 

Take the fine poem detailing the history of the Shield 
of Fionn. Poetic addresses to noted weapons are com- 
mon enough, and are not confined to Irish literature ; 
but the adventures of this shield pass beyond the ordinary 
uses of human battles, and enter the realm of mythology. 
The very name given to it, the " Dripping Ancient 
Hazel," carries us into a world of poetic imagination. 

1 Printed in Skene's Celtic Scotland, Hi. Appen. 2, p. 410, from 
a seventeenth century copy belonging to William Hennessy, com- 
pared with the copy in the Book of Fermoy. 


" Scarce is there on the firm earth, whether it be man or 

woman, one that can tell why thy name abroad 

is known as the Dripping Ancient Hazel. 
" 'Twas Balor that besought Lugh before his beheading : 

' Set my head above thy own comely head and 

earn my blessing.' 
" That blessing Lugh Longarm did not earn ; he set up 

the head above a wave of the east in a fork of hazel 

before him. 
" A poisonous milk drips down out of that hardened 

tree ; through the baneful drip, it was not slight, 

the tree split right in two. 
" For full fifty years the hazel stood, but ever it was a 

cause of tears, the abode of vultures and ravens. 
"Manannan of the round eye went into the wilderness 

of the Mount of White-Hazel ; there he saw a 

shadeless tree among the trees that vied in beauty. 
" Manannan sets workmen without delay to dig it out of 

the firm earth. Mighty was the deed ! 
" From the root of that tree arises a poisonous vapour ; 

there were killed by it (perilous the consequence) 

nine of the working folk. 
" Now I say to you, and let the prophecy be sought out : 

Around the mighty hazel without reproach was 

found the cause of many a woe. 

" It was from that shield that Eitheor of the smooth 
brown face was called ' Son of Hazel,' for this was 
the hazel that he worshipped." 1 

Or take again the strange mythological poem of the 
" Crane-bag," made out of the skin of a wandering 
haunted crane, which had once been a woman; condemned 
for " two hundred white years " to dwell in " the house 
of Manannan," i.e. in the wastes of the ocean, ever seeking 
and never finding land. When tha wanderings came to 

1 Duanaire Finn, edited by John MacNeill, pp. 34, 134 (Irish 
Texts Society, 1904). 


an end, and the unhappy Crane-woman died, Manannan 
(the Ocean-god) made of her skin a bag into which he put 
" every precious thing he had ; the shirt of Manannan 
and his knife, the girdle of Goibniu (the Vulcan of Irish 
legend) ; the king of Scotland's shears, the king of Loch- 
lann's helmet, and the bones of the swine of Asal these 
were the treasures that the Crane-bag held. . . . When 
the sea was full, its treasures were seen in its midst ; 
when the fierce sea was on ebb, the Crane-bag was 
empty." The story has the impress of great age, and 
manifold changes ; it belongs to the period when the 
gods were not yet transformed into human beings, but 
were still primaeval elemental powers, impersonations of 
fire and light and water, and the wisdom that is above 
mankind. But the link is lost, and the story remains a 
suggestion only, vague and indistinct. As an image of 
the hollow ocean, holding the treasures of the Sea-god, 
the idea is, however, full of force and beauty. 1 

The second difficulty, which is closely connected with 
the first, lies in the retention of the ancient and un- 
familiar nomenclature ; the old geographical and family 
names, which have dropped out of actual use, being 
everywhere found in the poetry. 

Scotland is still Alba in Irish, as it was in the sixth 
century ; Eire (gen. Erinn) is the ordinary name for 
Ireland, not only in poetry, as is commonly supposed, but 
in the living language of the country. But it has besides 
an abundance of specially poetic names, such as Inisfail, 
" the island of Destiny," Banba, Fodla, &c., connected 
with early legends, and these, if we are to understand 
the poetry, we must accustom ourselves to. England is 

1 For this poem see Duanaire Finn, edited by John MacNeill 
(Irish Texts Society, 1904), pp. ai, 118. 


still to-day the land of the Saxons to the Gael, and 
its inhabitants are the " Sassenachs " ; the Irishman per- 
sists in disregarding the coming of the Angles. We 
may talk of the extinction of the Gaelic tongue, but in 
his poetry, as in every place-name of stream or hill or 
townland all over the country, it is about us still. In the 
poetry we are back in Gaelic Ireland ; the old tribal dis- 
tinctions, the old clan names, meet us on every page. 
What does the modern man know of Leth Cuinn or Leth 
Mogha, the ancient divisions of the North and South, 
or of the stories which gave them birth ? What of 
Magh Breagh or Magh Murtheimne ? What of Emain 
Macha and Kincora ? Who, again, are the Clann Fiach- 
rach or the Eoghanacht, or the Children of Ir or Eiber ? 
Even before the much later titles of Thomond and 
Desmond, of Tyrconnell and Tyrowen he is somewhat 
at a loss. 

But to the bard the past is always present, the ancient 
nomenclature is never extinct. The legend which caused 
the River Boyne to be called " The fore-arm of Nuada's 
wife," or the tumuli on its banks to be thought of as the 
" Elfmounds of the wife of Nechtan," are familiar to him ; 
and to enter into the spirit of the mythological poetry 
we must know something of Irish folklore and tradition. 
Many of these expressions have a high imaginative signifi- 
cance, as when the sea is called the " Plain of Ler" (the 
elder Irish Sea-god), or its waves are " the tresses of 
Manannan's wife " or the " Steeds of Manannan." 

Of the large body of bardic poetry we have been un- 
able to give an adequate representation, partly from 
considerations of space, but also because we are not yet, 
until a larger quantity of this poetry has been published, 
able to estimate its actual poetic value. Much fine poetry 


by the historic bards undoubtedly exists, but we have as 
yet only a few published fragments to choose from. The 
first specimen we give, Teigue Dall O'Higgin's appeal to 
O'Rourke of the Bulwarks (na murtka), must stand as an 
example of much similar poetry in and about his own day. 

The call to union against England or against some local 
enemy sounds loud and constant in the bardic poems. 
There is much anti-English poetry ; poetry which has for 
its object the endeavour to unite for a single purpose the 
chiefs who had split up the provinces into small divisions 
under separate leaders, each fighting for his own hand. 

To stir up the lagging or too peaceful chief was one of 
the prime duties of the bard ; to address to him con- 
gratulations on his accession, or to bewail him when he 
died, was his official function ; and to judge by the quan- 
tity of paper covered with these laudatory effusions and 
elegies, he performed his task with punctilious care. It 
was likely that he would do so, for the fees for a poem 
that gave satisfaction were substantial. We miss the 
family bard in these days ; there is no one at hand to praise 
indifferently all that we do. 

The bardic poetry attracted the genius of Mangan, 
and his " Farewell to Patrick Sarsfield " and O'Hussey's 
" Ode to the Maguire," are not only fine poetry, but 
excellent representations of two of the finest of the bardic 
poems. Elsewhere in his poems, we have usually too 
much Mangan to feel that the tone of the original is 
faithfully conveyed. His soaring poem, " The Dark 
Rosaleen," can hardly be said to represent the Irish 
" Roisin Dubh," of which, for purposes of comparison, we 
give a literal rendering ; beautiful as Mangan's poem is, 
it has to our mind lost something of the exquisite grace 
of the original. 


It may be well to indicate here the relations between 
Mangan's version and the original in the poem in which 
he keeps most strictly to the words of the bard. " O'Hus- 
sey's Ode to the Maguire," that fine address of the 
Northern bard, O'Hussey, to his young chief, whose war- 
like foray into Munster in the depth of winter filled his 
mind with anxiety and distress. A literal translation of 
the opening passage reads as follows : 

"Too cold for Hugh I deem this night, the drops so 
heavily downpouring are a cause for sadness; 
biting is this night's cold woe is me that such is 
our companion's lot. 

In the clouds' bosoms the water-gates of heaven are 
flung wide ; small pools are turned by it to seas, 
all its destructiveness hath the firmament spewed 

A pain to me that Hugh Maguire to-night lies in a 
stranger's land, 'neath lurid glow of lightning- 
bolts and angry armed clouds' clamour ; 

A woe to us that in the province of Clann Daire (South- 
west Munster) our well-beloved is couched, betwixt 
a coarse cold-wet and grass-clad ditch and the 
impetuous fury of the heavens." l 

But it is not, after all, the verses of the bards, even of 
the best of them, that will survive. It is the tender religi- 
ous songs, the passionate love-songs, the exquisite addresses 
to nature ; those poems which touch in us the common 
ground of deep human feeling. Whether it came to us 
from the sixth century or from the sixteenth, the song 
of Crede for the dead man, whom she had grown to love 
only when he was dying, would equally move us ; the 
passionate cry of Liadan after Curithir would wring our 

1 O'Grady's Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the British 
Museum, p. 451. 



hearts whatever century produced it. The voice of love 
is alike in every age. It has no date. 

Having written so far, we begin to wonder whether it 
was wise or necessary to set so much prose between the 
reader and the poems which, as we hope, he wishes to 
read. In an ordinary anthology, the interruption of a 
long preface is a mistake and an intrusion, for, more 
than any other good art, good poetry must explain itself. 
The mood in which a poem touches us acutely may be 
recorded, but it cannot be reproduced in or for the 
reader. He must find his own moment. For the most 
part, these Irish poems need no introduction. We need 
no one to explain to us the beauty of the lines in the 
" Flower of Nut-brown Maids " : 

" I saw her coming towards me o'er the face of the 

Like a star glimmering through the mist " ; 

or to remind us of the depth of Cuchulain's sorrow when 
over the dead body of his son he called aloud : 

" The end is come, indeed, for me ; 
I am a man without son, without wife ; 
I am the father who slew his own child ; 
I am a broken, rudderless bark 
Tossed from wave to wave in the tempest wild ; 
An apple blown loose from the garden-wall, 
I am over-ripe, and about to fall; " 

or to tell us that the " Blackthorn," or " Donall Oge," or 
" Eileen Aroon," are exquisite in their pathos and tender- 
ness. But there are, besides these enchanting things, 
which we are prepared to expect from Irish verse, also 


things for which we are not prepared ; unfamiliar themes, 
treated in a new manner ; and to judge of these, some 
help from outside may be useful. The reader who does 
not know Ireland or know Gaelic, is ready to accept 
softness, the almost endless iteration of expressions con- 
veying the sense of woman's beauty and of man's affection, 
in phrases that differ but little from each other ; what he 
is not prepared for is the sudden break into matter-of-fact, 
the curt tone that cuts across much Irish poetry, revealing 
an unexpected side of life and character. Even the 
modern Irishman is tripped up by the swift intrusion of 
the grotesque ; the cold, cynical note that exists side 
by side with the most fervent religious devotion, especi- 
ally in the popular poetry, displeases him. He resents 
it, as he resents the tone of the " Playboy of the Western 
World " ; yet it is the direct modern representative of 
the tone of mind that produced the Ossianic lays. 

We find it in all the popular poetry ; as an example take 
the argument of the old woman who warns a young 
man that if he persists in his evil ways, there will be no 
place in heaven for such as he. The youth replies : 

" If no sinner ever goes to Paradise, 
But only he who is blessed, there will be wide empty 

places in it. 

If all who follow my way are condemned 
Hell must have been full twenty years and a year ago, 
And they could not take me in for want of space." 

The same chill, almost harsh tone is heard in the 
colloquy between Ailill of Munster and the woman 
whom he has trysted on the night after his death, 1 or in 
the poem, " I shall not die for you " (p. 286), or in the 

1 Dr. Kuno Meyer's Ancient Irish Poetry (Constable, 1911), p. 9. 


verses on the fairy-hosts, published by Dr. Kuno Meyer, 
where, instead of praise of their ethereal loveliness, we 
are told : 

" Good are they at man -slaying, 

Melodious in the ale-house, 

Masterly at making songs, 

Skilled at playing chess." 1 

Could anything be more matter-of-fact than the clever 
chess-playing of the shee-folk and their pride in it ? 

A collection of translations must always have some 
sense of disproportion. It is natural that translators 
should, as a rule, have been attracted, not only to the 
poems that most readily give themselves to an English 
translation, but to those which are most easily accessible. 
The love-songs, such as those collected by Hardiman and 
Dr. Douglas Hyde, have been attempted with more or 
less success by many translators, while much good poetry, 
not so easily brought to hand, has been overlooked. 
Dr. Kuno Meyer's fine translations of a number of older 
pieces, which came out originally either in separate 
publications, 2 or in the transactions of the Arts Faculty 
of University College, Liverpool, have now been rendered 
more accessible in a separate collection ; but the English 
ear is wedded to rhyme, and a prose translation, how- 
ever careful and choice, often misses its mark with the 
general reader. Long ago, Miss Brooke (in her Reliques 
of Irish Poetry) and Furlong (in Hardiman's Irish 
Minstrelsy) essayed the translation of a number of the 
longer " bardic remains " ; and these earlier collectors and 
translators will ever retain the gratitude of their country- 

1 Ancient Irish Poetry, p. 19. 

2 King and Hermit (1901) ; Liadan and Curithir (1902) ; /'our 
Songs of Summer and Winter (1903) ; all published by D. Nutt. 


men for rescuing and printing, at a time when little value 
was placed upon such things, these stores of Irish song. 
But the translations suited better the taste of their own 
day than of ours ; we cannot read them now, nor do they 
in the slightest way represent the verse they are intended 
to reproduce. Naturally, too, it is easier to give the 
spirit and language of a serious poem than that of a humor- 
ous one in another tongue, so that the more playful 
verse has been neglected. 

It may be thought that this book is overweighted 
by religious and love poems ; but in a collection essen- 
tially lyrical, religion and love must ever be the two 
chief themes. In Ireland, the inner spirit of the national 
genius ever spoke, and still speaks, through them. 

Among the people of the quiet places where few 
strangers come, and where night passes into day and 
day again to night with little change of thought or out- 
ward emotion, simple sorrows and simple pleasures have 
still time to ripen into poetry. The grief that came 
to-day will not pass away with a new grief to-morrow ; 
it will impress its groove, straight and deep, upon the 
heart that feels it, lying there without hope of a summer 
growth to hide its furrow. The long monotonous days, 
the dark unbroken evenings are the nurseries of sorrow ; 
the white open roads are the highways of hope or the 
paths for the wayfaring thoughts of despair. The 
stranger who came one day comes again no more, though 
we watch the long white track never so earnestly ; the 
boy or girl who went that way to foreign lands has not 
thrown his or her shadow across the road again. Where 
the turf fire rises curling and blue into the air, where the 
young girl stands waiting by the winding " boreen," 
where the old woman croons over the hearth, there we 


shall surely find, if we know how to draw it forth, that 
a well of poetry has been sunk, and that half-uncon- 
sciously the thought of the heart has expressed itself in 
simple verse, or in rhythmic prose almost more beautiful 
than verse. The minds that produced the touching 
melodies that wail and croon and sing to us out of Ireland, 
have not the less expressed themsc-lves in melodious 
poetry. Here, if anywhere, we may look to find a style 
unspoiled by imitation, and a sentiment moving because 
it is perfectly sincere. It is thus that such poems as 
" Donall Oge " or the " Roisin Dubh " or " My Grief 
on the Sea " come into existence. 

Where the outward distractions of life are few, the 
grave monotony of sea and moor and bog-land, the 
swirl of cloud and mist, and the loneliness of waste places 
sink more deeply into the mind. The visible is less felt 
than the invisible, and life is surrounded by a network 
of fears and dreams to which the town-dweller is a 
stranger. To-day, in the Western Isles of Ireland and 
Scotland, the huntsman going out to hunt, the fisherman 
to fish or lay his nets, the agriculturist to sow or reap 
his harvest, and the weaver or spinner to wind his yarn, 
go forth to their work with some familiar charm-prayer 
or charm-hymn, often beautifully called " the Blessings," 
on their lips. The milkmaid calling her cows or churning 
her butter, the young girl fearful of the evil-eye, and the 
cottager sweeping up her hearth in the evening, laying 
herself down to sleep at night, or rising up in the morn- 
ing, soothe their fears or smooth their way by some 
whispered paider or ortha, a prayer or a verse or a blessing. 
The deep religious feeling of the Celtic mind, with its 
far-stretching hands groping towards the mysterious and 
the infinite, comes out in these spontaneous and simple 


ejaculations ; I have therefore endeavoured to bring 
together a few others to add to the groups gathered by 
Dr. Hyde in the west of Ireland and by Dr. Carmichael 
in the Western Hebrides ; but in their original Gaelic 
they are the fruit of others' collections, not of my own. 1 
They are the thoughts of such humble people as the poor 
farm-servant who " had so many things to do from dark 
to dark " that she had no time for long prayers, and knew 
only a little prayer taught her by her mother, which laid 
" our caring and our keeping and our saving on the 
Sacred Trinity." 

I desire to inscribe here my sincere gratitude to the 
living authors and authoresses who have kindly given 
me permission to use their work, and my gratitude to 
those authors who have gone, that they have left us so 
much good work to use. Especially I desire to thank 
my friends, Mr. Alfred Perceval Graves and Mr. Ernest 
Rhys, for permitting the use of unpublished poems. 

Many friends have given a ready helping hand in 
elucidating difficult words and phrases, and it is a pleasant 
task to thank them here. Dr. D. Hyde, Rev. Michael 
Sheehan, Rev. P. S. Dinneen, Mr. Tadhg O'Donoghue, 
Mr. R. Flower, Miss Hayes, especially, have always 
readily come to my assistance ; to Miss Eleanor Knott 
I am indebted for valuable help in the translation of 
the " Saltair na Rann," and to Dr. R. Thurneysen for 
suggesting some readings in this difficult poem. 

I gratefully acknowledge permission accorded to me 
by the following publishing houses to include poems or 
extracts from books published by them : 

1 Chiefly of Dr. Michael Sheehan's collections in Co. Waterford, 
and those made by Mr. Fionan M'Collum and others in West 
Kerry (sec Notes). 


Messrs. Constable & Co., Ancient Irish Poetry, by 
Professor Kuno Meyer. T. Fisher Unwin, Bards of the 
Gael and Gall, by Dr. George Sigerson, F.N.U.I. 
Maunsel & Co., Irish Poems, by Alfred Perceval Graves ; 
Sea-S-pray, by T. W. Rolleston ; The Gilly of Christ, by 
Seosamh mac Cathmhaoil. David Nutt, Heroic Romances 
of Ireland, by A. H. Leahy. Herbert & Daniel, Eyes of 
Touth, for a poem by Padraic Colum. Sealy, Bryers and 
Walker, Lays of the Western Gael, by Sir Samuel Ferguson ; 
Irish Noinins, by P. J. McCall. H. M. Gill & Son, 
Irish Fireside Songs and Pulse of the Bards, by P. J. 
McCall. Williams & Norgate, Silva Gadelica, by Standish 
Hayes O'Grady. Chatto & Windus, Legends, Charms, 
and Cures of Ireland, by Lady Wilde. 

I also desire to acknowledge the courtesy of His 
Majesty's Stationery Department in permitting the use 
of drawings taken from initial letters in Sir John T. 
Gilbert's Facsimiles of Irish National MSB. Others of 
the initial letters used in the book are drawn from the 
Book of Lindisfarne and other Celtic manuscripts in the 
British Museum. I have to thank the Librarian of the 
Bodleian Library for permitting the reproduction of 
the photograph of the initial lines from the " Saltair na 
Rann " as a frontispiece to the book. 


THE SALTAIR NA RANN, or Psalter of the Verses, so-called because 
it is divided into 150 poems in imitation of the Psalms of David, is 
undoubtedly the most important religious poem of early Ireland. 
It may justly be regarded as the Irish Paradise Lost and Paradise 
Regained, for it opens with an account of the Creation of the 
Universe, the founding of Heaven and Hell, the fall of Lucifer, 
the creation of the Earthly Paradise and of man, the temptation 
and fall and the penance of Adam and Eve. After this it sketches 
the Old Testament History, leading up to the birth and life of 
Christ and closing with His death and resurrection. Though in 
general it follows the Bible narrative, it is peculiarly Irish in tone, 
and its additions and variations are of the greatest interest to 
students of mediaeval religious literature. The conception of the 
universe in the first poem, with its ideas of the seven heavens, 
the coloured and fettered winds, and the sun passing through the 
opening windows of the twelve divisions of the heavens, is curious ; 
the earth, enclosed in the surrounding firmament, "like a shell 
around an egg," being regarded as the centre of the universe. 

In the portions which relate the life of Adam and Eve, the 
author evidently had before him the Latin version of the widely 
known Vita Adae et Euae, which he follows closely, introducing 
from it several Latin words into his text ; but even here the colour- 
ing is purely Irish. The poem is ascribed to Oengus the Culdee, 
who lived early in the ninth century ; but its language is later, 
probably the end of the tenth century. 

In 1883 Dr. Whitley Stokes published 1 the text from the only 
existing complete copy, that contained in the Bodleian MS. Rawl. 
B. 502, but no part of it has hitherto been published in English. 
The present translation of the sections dealing with the Creation and 
with the life of Adam and Eve is purely tentative ; the poem 
presents great difficulties, and we suffer from the lack of a second 
copy with which to compare it. 2 Miss Eleanor Knott has read 
the translations and has helped me with many difficulties ; and I 
had the advantage of reading parts of the poem in class with 
Dr. Kuno Meyer. For the errors which the translation must 
undoubtedly contain, I am myself, however, alone responsible. 

1 In Anecdota Oxoniensia (Med. and Mod, Series), vol. i. 
part iii. 

2 The Lebar Brecc gives poem x., and a prose version of 
portions of poems ii. , iv. , vi. , viii. , ix. , xi. 




Attributed to Oengns the Culdee, ninth century ; but the 
date is probably the close of the tenth century. 


Y own King, King of the 

pure heavens, 
without pride, without 

who didst create the 

folded 1 world, 
my King ever - living, 

ever victorious. 

King above the elements, 
surpassing the sun, 

King above the ocean 

King in the South and 
North, in the West and 

with whom no conten- 
tion can be made. 

King of the Mysteries, who wast and art, 
before the elements, before the ages, 
King yet eternal, comely His aspect, 
King without beginning, without end. 
i Whitley Stokes gives " lawful" 


King who created lustrous heaven, 
who is not arrogant, not overweening, 
and the earth, with its multitudinous delights, 
strong, powerful, stable. 

King who didst make the noble brightness, 

and the darkness, with its gloom ; 

the one, the perfect day, 

the other, the very perfect night. 

King who fashioned the vast deeps 

out of the primary stuff of the elements, 


the wondrous formless mass. 

King who formed o\:t of it each element, 

who confirmed them without restriction, a lovely mystery, 

both tempestuous and serene, 

both animate and inanimate. 

King who hewed, gloriously, with energy, 

out of the very shapely primal stuff, 

the heavy, round earth, 

with foundations, . . . length and breadth. 1 

King who shaped within no narrow limits 

in the circle of the firmament 

the globe, fashioned 

like a goodly apple, truly round. 

1 Corap. the parallel passage in Senchus m6r, Ancient Laws of 
Ireland, voL i. intro. p. 26. 


King who formed after that with fixity 
the fresh masses about the earth ; 
the very smooth currents above the world 
of the chill watery air. > 

King who didst sift the cold excellent water 
on the earth-mass of the noble cliffs 
into rills, with the reservoirs 1 of the streams, 
according to their measures, with moderation. 


King who ordained the eight winds 
advancing without uncertainty, full of beauty, 
the four prime winds He holds back, 
the four fierce under-winds. 

There are four other under-winds, 

as learned authors say, 

this should be the number, without any error, 

of the winds, twelve winds. 

King who fashioned the colours of the winds, 
who fixed them in safe courses, 
after their manner, in well-ordered disposition, 
with the varieties of each manifold hue. 

The white, the clear purple, 

the blue, the very strong green, 

the yellow, the red, sure the knowledge, 

in their gentle meetings wrath did not seize them. 

1 This is Dr. Whitley Stokes' reading. Dr. R. Tburneysen reads 


The black, the grey, the speckled, 
the dark and the deep brown, 
the dun, darksome hues, 
they are not light, easily controlled. 

King who ordained them over every void, 

the eight wild under-winds ; 

who laid down without defect 

the bounds of the four prime winds. 

From the East, the smiling purple, 

from the South, the pure white, wondrous, 

from the North, the black blustering moaning wind, 

from the West, the babbling dun breeze. 

The red, and the yellow along with it, 
both white and purple ; 
the green, the blue, it is brave, 
both dun and the pure white. 

The grey, the dark brown, hateful their harshness, 

both dun and deep black ; 

the dark, the speckled easterly wind 

both black and purple. 

Rightly ordered their form, 

their disposition was ordained ; 

with wise adjustments, 1 openly, 

according to their position and their fixed places. 

1 It is not clear what the word glh,gUssib, which occurs fre- 
uently in the following passage, means. In mod. Irish, gUas, in 
ne meaning, is a means or instrument for doing a thing. The verb 


The twelve winds, 

Easterly and Westerly, Northerly and Southerly, 
the King who adjusted them, He holds them back, 
He fettered them with seven curbs. 

King who bestowed them according to their posts, 
around the world with many adjustments, 
each two winds of them about a separate curb, 
and one curb for the whole of them. 

King who arranged them in habitual harmony, 
according to their ways, without over-passing their 

limits ; 

at one time, peaceful was the space, 
at another time, tempestuous. 


King who didst make clear the measure of the slope l 

from the earth to the firmament, 

estimating it, clear the amount, 

along with the thickness of the earth-mass. 

He set the course of the seven Stars 2 
from the firmament to the earth, 
Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, 
Sol, Venus, the very great moon. 

gUasaim = " to harness." It seems to have some such meaning 
here. The winds were apparently harnessed, curbed, or fettered 
two and two, the whole being held together in one fetter. In 
another sense gUas means " harmony." 
i Or " track." 2 i.e. the Planets. 


King who numbered, kingly the space, 
from the earth to the moon ; 
twenty-six miles with a hundred miles, 
they measure them in full amount. 

This is that cold air 
circulating in its aerial series (?) 
which is called . . . with certainty 
the pleasant, delightful heaven. 

The distance from the moon to the sun 

King who measured clearly, with absolute certainty, 

two hundred miles, great the sway, 

with twelve and forty miles. 

This is that upper ethereal region, 
without breeze, without greatly moving air, 1 
which is called, without incoherence, 
the heaven of the wondrous ether. 

Three times as much, the difference is not clear (?) 

between the firmament and the sun, 

He has given to calculators ; 2 

my King star-mighty ! most true is this ! 

This is the perfect Olympus, 

motionless, immovable, 

(according to the opinion of the ancient sages) 

which is called the Third Holy Heaven. 

1 Or "impure air",? 

* Cf. the parallel passage in the Senchus mdr astronomical 
tract, Anc. Laws of Ireland, vol. i. , Introduction, p. 28. 


Twelve miles, bright boundary, 
with ten times five hundred miles, 
splendid the star-run course, separately 
from the firmament to the earth. 

The measure of the space 
from the earth to the firmament, 
it is the measure of the difference 
from the firmament to heaven. 

Twenty-four miles 
with thirty hundred miles 
is the distance to heaven, 
besides the firmament. 

The measure of the whole space 
from the earth to the Kingly abode, 
is equal to that from the rigid earth 
down to the depths of hell. 

King of each Sovereign lord, vehement, ardent, 
who of His own force set going the firmament 
as it seemed secure to Him over every space, 
He shaped them from the formless mass. 

The poem goes on to speak of the division of the 
universe into five zones, a torrid, two temperate, and 
two frigid zones, and of the earth revolving in the centre 
of the universe, with the firmament about it, " like a shell 
encircling an egg." The passage of the sun through the 
constellations is then described, each of the twelve 
divisions through which it passes being provided with 
six windows, with close-fitting shutters, and strong 


coverings, which open to shed light by day. The con- 
stellations are then named, and the first section of the 
poem ends as follows : 

For each day five items of knowledge 
are required of every intelligent person, 
from every one, without appearance of censure, 1 
who is in ecclesiastical orders. 

The day of the solar month, the age of the moon, 
the sea-tide, without error, 

the day of the week, the festivals of the perfect saints, 
after just clearness, with their variations. 

1 Perhaps " boasting.' 


KING who formed the pure Heaven, 1. 337 

with its boundaries, according to His pleasure, 
a habitation choice, songful, safe, 
for the wondrous host of Archangels. 

Heaven with its multitude of hosts, 
noble, durable, exceeding spacious, 
a strong mighty city with a hundred graces, 
a tenth of it the measure of the world. 

Therein are three ramparts undecaying, 

fixedly they surround heaven, 

a rampart of emerald crystal, 

a rampart of gold, a rampart of amethyst. 1 

A wall of emerald, without obscurity, outside, 
a wall of gold next to the city, 
between the two, with bright fair glory, 
a mighty rampart of stainless purple. 

1 Lit. " green," " gold," and " purple," but they seem to imply 
special stones. 


There, with a strong-flowing sea (?) 

is a spacious, perfect city, 

in it, with the light of peace, 1 

is the eternal way of the four chief doors. 

The measure of each door severally 
of the four chief doorways, 
(placed) side by side, by calculation, 
is a mile across each single door. 

In each doorway a cross of gold 
before the eyes of the ever-shining host ; 
the King wrought them without effort, 
they are massive, very lofty. 

Overhead, on each cross, a bird of red gold, 

full-voiced, not unsteady ; 

in every cross 

a great gem of precious stone. 

Every day an archangel 
with his host from Heaven's king, 
with harmony, with pure melody, 
(gather) around each several cross. 

Before each doorway is a lawn, 
fair . . ., of sure estimation, 
I liken each one of them in extent z 
to the earth together with its seas. 

1 Or peaceful light. 

1 This is the L. B. reading; the text gives "excellence" or 
" fertility," which does not make good sense. 


The circuit of each single lawn 

with its silvern soil, 1 

with its swards, covered with goodly blossom, 

with its beauteous plants. 

Vast though you may deem 

the extent of the spacious lawns, 

a rampart of silver, undecaying, 

has been formed about each several lawn. 

The portals of the walls without 
around the fortress on every side, 
with its dwellings soundly placed, 
affording abodes (?) for many thousands. 

Eight portals in a series 
so that they come together around the city, 
I have not, in the way of knowledge, 2 
a simile for the extent of each portico. 

Each portal abounding in plants, 

with their bronze foundations, 

a rampart of fair clay has been established 

strongly about each portal. 

Twelve ramparts perfect the boundary (?) 

of the portals, of the lawns, 

without counting the three ramparts that are outside 

around the chief city. 

1 The L. B. reading is fond d 'argut futhib , which seems to point 
to some such meaning as " base," " foundation." 
8 Reading uncertaia 


There are forty gateways in the heavenly habitation 
with its kingly thrones ; 
three to each tranquil lawn, 
and three to each portal. 

Gratings (or doors) of silver, fair in aspect, 1. 409 

to each gateway of that lawn, 

gracious bronze doors 

to the gateways of the portals. 

The corresponding walls from the fortress outwards 

of all the portals 

are comparable in height l 

(to the distance) from the earth to the moon. 

The ramparts of the lawns, as is meet, 

wrought of white bronze, 

their height mighty in brilliance 

is as that from the earth to the pure sun. 

The measure of comparison of the three ramparts 

which surround the chief city, 

their height shows (a distance equal 

to that) from the earth to the firmament. 

The entrance bridges 2 of the perfect gates, 1. 465 

a fair way, shining with red gold, 

they are irradiated pure the gathering 

each step ascending above the other. 

1 This is the L. B. reading; our text seems to mean "in 

2 Or "thresholds." 


From step to step brave the progress, 
pleasant the ascent into the high city ; 
fair is that host, on the patK of attainment (?) 
many thousands, a hundred of hundreds. 

In the circuit of the ramparts great its strength (?) 
in the interior of the chief city, 
bright glossy galleries, 
firm red-gold bridges. 

Therein are flowering lands 

ever fresh in all seasons, 

with the produce of each well-loved fruit 

with their thousand fragrances. 

The nine grades of heaven, 1- 553 

around the King of all causation, 
without loss of glory, with vigour of strength, 
without pride, without envy. 

In abundant profusion (?) under the lawful King 
this their exact number, 
seventy-two excellent hosts 
in each grade of the grades. 

The number of each host, unmeasured gladness, 
there is none that could know it, 
except the King should know it 
who created them out of nothing. 

A majestic King over them all, 

King of flowery heaven, 

a goodly, righteous, steadfast King, 

King of royal generosity in His regal dwelling. 


King very youthful, King aged long ago, 1 

King who fashioned the heavens about the pure sun, 

King of all the gracious saints, 

a King gentle, comely, shapely. 

The King who created the pure heavenly house 
for the angels without transgression, 
land of holy ones, of the sons of life, 2 
a plain fair, long, spacious. 

He arranged a noble, peaceful 3 abode, 
stable, under the regal courses, 
a comely, clear, perfect, bright circuit, 
for the wondrous folk of penitence. 

My King from the beginning over the host, 

" sanctus Dominus Sabaoth," 

to whom is chanted upon the heights, with loving 

guidance, (?) 
the melody of the four-and-twenty white-robed saints. 

The King who ordained the perfect choir 
of the four-and-twenty holy ones, 
sweetly they chant the chant to the host 
" sanctus Deus Sabaoth." 

i Perhaps Ancient of Days. 

* Mac betkad may mean " a sinless man," as mac bdis, " son of 
death," means a sinful man. 

* We take M to be an adjective ; it might also mean ' ' a fairy 
mound," but this is hardly applicable here. 


King steadfast, bountiful, goodly, noble, 
abode of peace, ...(?) 
with whom is the flock of lambs 
around the Pure Spotless Lamb. 

Bright King, who appointed the Lamb 

to move forward upon the Mount (of Sion) l 

four thousand youths following Him, 

(with) a hundred and forty (thousand) in a pure progress, 

A perfect choir, with glories of form, 
of the stainless virgins, 
chants pure music along with them 
following after the shining Lamb. 

Equal in beauty, in swiftness, in brightness, 

across the Mount surrounding the Lamb ; 

the name inscribed on their countenances, with grace, 

is the name of the Father. 

The King who ordained the voice 
of the heavenly ones by inspiration, 
full, strong-swelling, 
as the mighty wave of many waters ; 

Or like the voice of sound-loving harps 

they sing, without fault, full tenderly, 

(like) multitudinous great floods over every land, 

or like the mighty sound of thunder. 2 

i Rev. xiv. i. 

* " I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, 
and as the voice of a great thunder ; and I heard the voice of 
harpers harping with their harps " (Rev. xiv. a). 



King of the flowering tree of life, 

a way for the ranks of the noble grades ; 

its top, its droppings, on every side, 

have spread across the broad plain of heaven. 

On which sits the splendid bird-flock 
sustaining a perfect melody of pure grace, 
without decay, with gracious increase 
of fruit or of foliage. 

Beauteous the bird-flock which sustains it, (i.e. the 


each choice bird with a hundred wings ; 
they chant without guile, in bright joyousness, 
a hundred melodies for every wing. 

King who created many splendid dwellings, 1 

many comely, just, perfect works, 

through (the care of) my rich King, 2 over every sphere, 

no lack is felt by any of the vast array. 

His are the seven heavens, perfect in might, 
without prohibition, without evil, whitely moving 
around the earth, great the wonder (?) 
with the names of each heaven. 

Air, ether, over all 

Olympus, the firmament, 

heaven of water, heaven of the perfect angels, 

the heaven where is the fair-splendid Lord. 

i " In ray Father's house are many mansions " (John xiv. 3). 
* Rogmar (mod. Ir. roghmhar) means " bulky" or " fortunate" 
or ' ' fat " ; here it refers to God as possessor of all. 


The amount of good which our dear God, 1. 649 

has for His saints in their holy dwelling, 

according to the skill of the wise (?) 

there is none who can relate a hundredth part of it. 

The Lord, the head of each pure grade, 

who gathered (?) the host to everlasting life, 

may He save me after my going out of the body of 

the King who formed Heaven. 

King who formed the pure Heaven. 


RINCE who gave a clear admonition 
to Eve and to Adam, 1. 1081 

that they should eat of the produce of 

according to God's command : 

" Eat ye of them freely, 

of the fruits of Paradise sweet the 

many, all of them (a festival to be 

shared) * 
are lawful for you save one tree. 

" In order that you may know that you are under 


without sorrow, without strife, 
without anxiety, without long labour, 
without age, evil, or blemish ; 

" Without decay, without heavy sickness ; 
with everlasting life, in everlasting triumph 
on your going to heaven (joyous the festival) 
at the choice age of thirty years." 

l Lit. " share of a festival" ; this is one of those chevilles which 
are frequent in this poem, often introduced without much sense to 
fill out a line, or to give a rhyming word. We have omitted a 
few of them in the translation. 



A thousand years 

and six hours of the hours, 

without guile, without danger, it has been heard, 

Adam was in Paradise. 1 

O God our help, whom champions prove, 
who fashioned all with perfect justice, 
not bright the matter of our theme (?) 2 
the King who spake an admonition with them. 

Prince who gave a clear admonition. 

(The figures in brackets after the title of the chapters 
are the numbers of the poems or cantos in the text.) 

1 There seems to be some error here. According to Gen. v. 3, 
Adam lived altogether nine hundred and thirty years, as the poet 
states further on (p. 43). 

* The meaning of this line is not clear. The above is con- 

PARADISE, (viii.) 

THE Devil was jealous thereat 1. 1105 

with Adam and his children, 

their being here, without evil, 

in their perfect bodies (on their passage) to heaven. 

All the living creatures in the flesh 
my Holy King has created them, 
outside Paradise without strife 
Adam it is who used to order them. 

At the time when out of every quarter 

the hosts of the seven heavens used to gather round my 

High King, 

every fair corporeal creature 
used to come together to Adam. 

Each of them out of his place cheerfully, 1 

at his call to adore him ; 

to Adam, joyous the custom, 

they used to come to delight him. 

1 Lit. " prosperously." 


From heaven God ruled 

all the living things < 

that they should come out of every district without 

fierceness l 
till they arrived before (the gate of) Paradise. 

Then they would return right-hand-wise 
without seed of pride or any murmuring, 
each of them to its very pure abode 
after taking leave of Adam. 

The very fierce, double-headed beast, 

was subtle and watchful, with (his) twenty hosts, 

how under heaven he shall find a way 

to bring about the destruction of Adam. 

Lucifer, many his clear questions, 2 
went amongst the animals, 
amongst the herds outside Paradise 
until he found the serpent. 

** Is it not useless (i.e. unworthy of you) thy being 

outside ? " 

said the Devil to the serpent ; 
" with thy dexterous cunning, 
with thy cleverness, with thy subtlety ? 

" Great was the danger and the wickedness 
that Adam should have been ordained over thee ; 
the downfall 3 of him, the youngest of created things, 
and his destruction, would be no crime to us. 

1 Lit. "without attack." 

2 This seems to be a cheville ; lit. " number of clear questions." 

3 Lit. " his consuming." 


" Since thou art more renowned in warfare, 

first of the twain thou wast created, 

thou art more cunning, more agreeable in every way (?) 

do not submit to the younger ! 

" Take my advice without shrinking, 1 
let us make an alliance and friendship ; 
listen to my clear reasoning : 
do not go forth to Adam. 

" Give me a place in thy body, 
with my own laws, with my own intellect, 
so that we both may go from the plain 
unexpectedly 2 to Eve. 

" Let us together urge upon her 
the fruit of the forbidden tree, 
that she afterwards may clearly 
press the food upon Adam. 

" Provided that they go together 
beyond the commandment of his Lord, 
God will not love them here, 
they will leave Paradise in evil plight." 3 

" What reward is there for me above every great one ? * 

said the serpent to the devil ; 

" on my welcoming thee into my fair body, 

without evil, as my fellow-inhabitant ? 

i Lit. " without grief" or " sorrow." * Lit. " under attack.' 
* Lit. " without bloom " ? 


" For guiding thee on that road 

to destroy Eve and Adam, ' 

for going with, thee truly to the attack 

whatever act thou mayest undertake ? " * 

(LUCIFER replies) 

" What greater reward shall I give to thee 
according to the measure of our great crime 
(than that) our union in our habits, in our wrath, 
shall be for ever spoken of ? " 

When he found a place for the betrayal 
in the liheness of the serpent's shape, 
slowly he went tarrying 2 
directly to the gate of Paradise. 

The serpent called outside, 

" dost thou hear me, O wife of Adam ? 

come and converse with me, O Eve of the fair form, 

beyond 8 every other." 

" I have no time to talk with anyone," 
said Eve to the serpent ; 
" I am going out to feed 
the senseless animals." 

" If you are the Eve whose fame was heard 
with honour in Paradise, 
wife of Adam, beautiful, wide-minded, 
in her I desire 4 my full satisfaction." 6 

1 Lit. " rise to." * Or " steadily." 

* Or perhaps " apart from " every other. 

* Or "I beseech." Or "need." 


(EvE speaks) 

" Whenever Adam is not here, 

I am guardian of Paradise, 

without weariness, O smooth, pale creature, 

I attend to the needs of the animals." 

(The SERPENT speaks) 

" How long does Adam go from thee, 
on which side does he make his fair circuit, 
when at any time he is not here 
feeding the herds in Paradise f " 

" He leaves it to me, bright jewel ; 

I feed the animals, 

while he goes with pure unmeasured renown 

to adore the Lord." 

" I desire to ask a thing of thee," 

said the slender, very affable serpent, 

" because bright and dear is thy clear reasoning, 

Eve, O bride of Adam ! " 

" Whatever it be that you contemplate saying, 
it will not vex me, O noble creature ; 
certainly there will be no obscurity here, 

1 will narrate it to thee truthfully." 


" Tell me, O glorious Eve, 

since it chances that we are discoursing together, 
in your judgment, is the life in Paradise, 
with your lordship here, pleasant ? " 

(EvE replies) 

" Until we go faultless in our turn, (or " ranks ") 

in our bodies to heaven, 

we do not ask here greater lordship 

than what there is of good in Paradise. 

" Every good thing, 1 as it was heard, 
that God created in Paradise, 
save one tree, all without reserve, 
is thus under our control. 2 

" It is He, the dear God, who committed to us, 
O pale, bashful creature, 
Paradise as a solace 3 for His people (?) 
except the fruit of the one tree. 

*' ' Let alone the very pure tree,' 

He cautioned myself and Adam, 

' the fruit of the rough tree, if thou eatest of it 

against my command, thou shalt die.' " 

1 This is the L. B. reading; the text has fia. Is it fiadh, of 
which one meaning is " meat," or " food " ? 

* Or " it is thus according to rule," i.e. laid down for us. 

3 Donad seems to be used in the same way as dldnad, "solace " 
or "consolation," v.n. of didonaim, " I console." 


(The SERPENT speaks) 

" Though on the plain l you be equal, 
yourself and Adam, O Eve, 
you are not more intelligent, O gentle, pure one, 
than any of the beasts. 

" However great be the host under you outside 
it is lamentable that you are without minds, 
like to any of the ignorant animals ; 
thus you are under one law (with them). 2 

" Except as regards possessions only, 
your lordship has not been complete ; 
since nothing of evil has been sent to you, 
the worse is your understanding. 

" Great is the lack of wisdom ; 

God is deceiving you : 

because it is of the one tree of good and evil, 

that you are not permitted to eat. 

" For this purpose the brave tree was invented, 
in order that it should not be allowed you j 
that you should not have the intelligence 
to distinguish between good and evil. 

" Do not hesitate, go to the tree, 

to test it as regards one apple ; 

the discernment between good and evil 

will be as the High Prince instructed you." 

i i.e. outside in the fields among the animals. 
i.e. on the same level with the beasts. 


(EvE tpeaks) 

" How good soever thy intelligence, 
however favourable l and gracious thy counsel, 
to go to the tree I dare not, 
lest we die. 

" Go thou thyself to the tree, O serpent, 

and bring from it one apple ; 

but if that apple come to me 

I shall share it between myself and Adam. 

" Before all the multitudes we shall be endowed with 


if we but eat the apple, 
(this is) thy tale without mockery ; 
perchance what thou sayest is true." 

(The SERPENT speaks) 

" O Eve, untrammelled light, 
open before me the gate of Paradise ; 
provided I arrive without misfortune yonder 
I will bring from the tree the apple." 

(EvE speaks) 

" Though I open before thee that thou mayest go yonder, 
though from the tree you bring me an apple, 
there will be no delay on thee here, 
(by) thy lingering in Paradise f " 

1 Or "full of grace." 


(SATAN speaks) 

" If I bring the apple to thee, 
that thou mayest discern good and evil 
without any fail I will go out, 
unless bondage or fetters befall me." 

Eve opened secretly 

the door before the serpent, 

without difficulty * it went (it was not obsequious), 

on its course to the one tree. 

Eve took the perfect apple 
from the apple-tree (most woeful the tale), 
Eve carried off the half, it was not well, 
she left the other half for Adam. 

King who drave from Thee the host of hell, 

who hast made them fast in equal wretchedness under 

trembling service, 

He (God) wounded in battle, though it was laborious, 
the keen wolf who was jealous. 

The Devil was jealous thereat. 

1 Cith means a "shower" (metaph. "of tears"); also "hard- 


KING who bestowed the pleasurable earth 1. 1469 

upon Adam after the fall, 

he had no (reason for) displeasure towards God, 

save that he should perish after a time. 1 

Adam was a week yet 
after his expulsion out of Paradise, 
weary, without fire, without dwelling, 
without drink or food or clothing. 

Because they were impoverished 
they went into the midst of the field, 
great was the mutual reproach perpetually 
between Eve and Adam. 

" O Eve of the just fair form, 
sorrowful are we through thy impenitence ; (?) 
through thy misdeeds, through thy transgression, 
alas ! we have been cast out of Paradise. 

" Much did we relinquish of good 
when we vexed our High Prince ; 
Paradise was ours under perfect command 2 
with every reverence. 

1 i.e. instead of passing in his body direct to heaven, without 
dying, his days henceforth were numbered. 

2 Lit. "summons." 



" Youth 1 and joy, by us it has been heard, 
health, playfulness, delight, 
bordered 2 lands, most perfect of form, 
wondrous plants, harmonies. 

" Noble satisfaction, singular wholesome peace, 
a festival of holiness for souls, 
. . . 3 many the habitations, 
frequent intercourse with angels. 

" Lasting life, continually at God's right hand, 

for ever in the brughs of Paradise, 

in which, under fair aspect, 

God's creatures were doing us reverence. 

" All the living things under heaven 
which my faithful dear God created, 
under (our) control over every high place, 
we it was who used to order them. 

" Fire would not burn us, 

water would not drown us, 

nor sharp edge . . . 4 

nor (was there) pestilence nor consuming disease. 

i The word is detiu, probably <fitiu = " youth" ; L. B. has ditte 
aille ocus slanti cen galar, " beautiful places and health without 
sickness. ' ' 

* Balthai (?). There is a word baltadh, " a border " (O'R) ; L. B. 
has blathi, " blooming " or " prosperous." 

Aithbi derritr * Ptdim f 


" There was not among the elements of dear God, 
one that would come, in heaVen or earth, 
against our will, to destroy us, 
save only the wicked Lucifer. 

" Even Lucifer 

could not harm us, 

while we were under law (in a) perfect course 

according to mandate, according to command. 

" Because we wronged dear God 
who gave us everything, 
on every height, all creatures together, 
are (now) in opposition to us. 

" It is not God who has been evil towards us, 
O Eve, ruddy, gentle fair one ; 
it is we who have wronged the Prince, 
though He provided us with lasting good." 

Eve spake, for she was in distress, 1 
in sorrow, after the fall ; 
" O Adam, marvellous over every wild, 
why do you not kill me for my sins ? 

" It is I who transgressed the law, 

it is I who committed the transgression, 

it would then be right that thou should'st slay me, 

O my Lord, O Adam ! 

1 Or possibly " famished." 


" Provided that I fall (just the measure) 
for my sins, for my transgression, 
clearly the greater mercy 
will thy God shew towards thee." 

" Greatly have we offended the King," 
said he, said Adam, without contempt, 
" O Wife, I will not commit murder on thee, 
though I be famished, though I be naked. 

" I will not lif t my hand 

upon my own blood, my own flesh ; 

how great soever thy crime, 

it is from my body thou art. 

" It is not fitting for us in any way 

to outrage Him again ; 

so that the true Prince, O wife, 

may not cut us off and utterly destroy us. 

" That we go not from Him a distant journey 
with demons into the abyss of torment, 
nor that God give us back 
into the power of Lucifer." 

" There is no good in our life, 1 O Adam," 
said she, said Eve ; 

" without clothing, without warm dwelling, 
without food, we shall perish of hunger. 

" We had food, we had garments, 
as long as we were without sin ; 
since our fall and our going astray, 
we have neither clothing nor good food. 

1 Lit. " gatherings" or " proceedings." 


" O Husband, make a circuit without fail 

by a pleasant path on every 'hand, 

to learn if thou canst get as a feast (?) 

of food for us something that we would eat." 

Adam went on a well-marked course 

near by, and far away ; 

he did not find, after all, 

any wholesome food but herbs of the ground. 

Herbs of the soil, green their colour, 
food of the senseless animals ; 
they are not tender for us as a meal, 
after the pleasant food of Paradise. 

(ADAM speaks) 

" O Eve, let us with sincerity 
make lasting penance and repentance, 
that we might cleanse away before the King of Justice 
something of our sins, of our transgressions." 

(EvE replies) 

" Give me instruction about that, 
O my Lord, O Adam, 

because I know not before the great world l 
how one should^do penance. 

" Instruct me clearly, 

according to thy understanding, according to thy clear 


that I do not exceed, 
neither that I fall short in any way." 

1 Lit. " before every quarter " (i.e. of the world). 


(AoAM speaks) 

" Let us adore the Lord together 
in silence, without intercourse ; 

thou into the strong river Tigris, 
and I will go into the River Jordan. 

" Thirty- three days 
thou should'st be in the River Tigris, 
myself in Jordan under correction 
forty-seven clear days. 

" Take with thee a firm flag of stone, 

(place it) under thy sitting, under thy gentle feet, 

and I shall take with me another stone 

equal to it, resembling it exactly. 

" Dispose the stone in the river, 

bathe thyself on it ; 

thou wilt be chosen as thou hast strength to endure 

until the water rises to thy throat. 

" Thy locks spread luxuriantly on every hand, 
upon the stream on every side ; 
be thou silent with grief and special sadness, 
thy keen eyes towards the heavenly ones. 

" Lift thy two hands every canonical hour * 
towards the heavenly Lord of the nine grades ; 
pray . . . , even at the beginning, 
forgiveness for thy transgression, 

1 Like the mention of "cross-vigil" later on, the mention of 
anonical hours is a quaint anachronism in the history of Adam 
and Eve. 


" We are not pure to converse with God, 
since (our) transgression, since (our) impurity, 
for our false, polluted mouths 
are not clean, stainless, bright. 

" Let us beseech the whole of the creatures 
formed by God through His pure mysteries, 
that they implore with us to the King of Justice 
that our transgression be forgiven. 

" Perform in this manner thy good work, 

and beseech the true Prince ; 

until He determine clearly 

do not stir thyself, do not move." 

Forty and seven days without woe 
was Adam in the River Jordan ; 
thirty and three days was gentle Eve 
in the stream of the River Tigris. 

Angels of God each day from heaven 
from God to succour Adam, 
instructing him, as was permitted, 
to the end of nineteen days. 

Then Adam sought a mighty boon 

upon the River Jordan ; 

that it would " fast " with him upon dear God, 

with its multitude of creatures. 

The stream stood still 
in its course, in its onward motion ; 
the kingly stream paused from its flow 
that He might give forgiveness to Adam. 


Then the stream gathered together 
every living creature that was in its womb, 
until the whole number of the living creatures 
were around Adam. 

All of them prayed, 

Adam, the stream, and the multitude of animals ; 
mournfully they poured forth their noble lamentation 
to the perfect host of the nine holy grades. 

That all the grades, openly, 
might beseech their Lord on their behalf 
that God should give full forgiveness, 
and should not destroy Adam. 1 

The nine grades with their array 
prayed to God who controls them 
for forgiveness now for Adam 
for his peril, for his sin. 

God gave to His grades 

full pardon for the sin of Adam, 

and the habitation of the earth at all times 

with heaven, holily noble, all-pure. 

And He pardoned after that 
their descendants and their peoples, 
save him alone who acts unrighteously 
and transgresses the will of God unlawfully. 

1 Or possibly " without stint to Adam " ; but the reading 
above seems better to bear out the meaning. 


When the black Devil heard 

that forgiveness had been bestowed on Adam, 

(he said) " I will go in a distinguished brilliant form 

tc'Eve again. 

" That I may bring her out of the stream through 


that I may put her on a course of death ; 
so that I may drown (i.e. destroy) something of her work 
and disturb her devotion." 

Lucifer went with joyful speed, 

the fierce, astute wolf, 

like a swan, in the shape of a white angel, 

to Eve in the River Tigris. 

The angel who destroyed them spake with her, 
in pity for her, as it seemed to her, 
" O modest Eve of the bright form, 
long hast thou tarried in the River Tigris. 

" Ah Woman, though bright was thy beauty, 
thou hast grown pale l in the rough stream ; 
without vigour ... , it is evident 
thou hast slain thyself, thou hast destroyed thyself. 

" O Woman, come out for the sake of thy God, 

remain no longer in the cruel river ; 

thy valiant King sent me journeying, 

from Him have I come to show pity to thee." 

1 Lit. "thou hast changed thy complexion in the rough 


Then comes Eve out of the river, 
and was on the shore, drying herself ; 
a cloud (i.e. a faintness) fell on her then, 
so that she was almost dead without life. 

Bright Eve did not recognise 
Lucifer with his manifold snares : 
the matchless woman was perplexed, 1 
her mind was in doubt. 

(LUCIFER speaks) 

" O Eve, what has come to thee ? 
greatly art thou considering ; 
clearly I came to thee from heaven, 
at the command of the steadfast God. 

" Let us go hence to Adam. 
O Woman ! do not be wavering ; 
we have all prayed to dear God 
to pardon you for your sins." 

Then they went vigorously 
as far as the River Jordan, 
to Adam, chief of tribes ; 
noble Eve and Lucifer. 

l Lit. "it was difficult to the matchless woman.' 


When Adam perceived from the river 

Eve and Lucifer, 

trembling took hold upon him, (though) he was 

horror of the Devil's countenance filled him. 

" My grief ! O wandering Eve, 

thy guide is betraying thee ; 

the man who comes journeying with thee here, 

it is he who deceived thee in Paradise. 

" Ah, sad Eve, without dear form, 1 
what brought thee from the River Tigris 
without the warrant of the King of Justice, 
without a pure accompanying angel ? " 

When Eve heard that, 

the reproaches of Adam, 

she fell to the ground, 

she came near to speedy death. 

(A long conversation follows between Adam and the 
Devil ; Adam demands why the Devil pursues them with 
such perpetual hatred and, in reply, Lucifer recounts 
his fall from heaven, which he says was caused by his 
refusal to obey the command of God that he should 
worship Adam. This command he refused, because he, 

1 i.e. " whose form has been changed by her sojourn in the 


as the first-created, felt it unworthy of him to adore 
Adam, the youngest-born of created things. He details 
his present miseries, and his determination to take 
revenge on Adam and Eve. The poem or canto ends 
with the coming of Adam out of the river, and the 
history of their children, Seth, Cain, and Abel.) 


DAM'S lifetime was not short ; 1. 2021 
that ye may know, without risk (of 

thirty years had he, it was exactly 

with nine hundred years. 1 

Then came a complete sickness to 


such as comes to everyone, 
his wife Eve with every goodness 
was receiving his last bequests. 

Adam knew his destiny, 

he spake to splendid Eve : 

" I have parted fromthee andfrom thychildren; 

of this sickness I die." 

" It is hard of God," 

said she, said Eve, to Adam, 

" that thou art not sojourning here, (?) 

that it is not I who go first. 

1 i.e. 930 years ; see Gen. v. 3. 


" My grief ! that them should'st change," 

said she, said Eve to Adam ; 

" that I should be here sorrowful without strength, 

that thou should'st go first." 

" O Eve of the pure clear form, 
understand clearly in thy mind ; 
thou wilt not be any length, it is clear, 
here in pain after my departure. 

" Short was the time, though it be without deception, 
between thy creation and mine, 

thou wilt not be in danger of attack, 1 bright is the outlook, 
but nine months after me." 

" Tell me without error, O Husband, 
what I shall do with thy fair dear body ? 
since thou deemest thy death is certain, 

my Lord, O Adam ! " 

" Let not foot or hand touch me, 
let not any interfere with me, 
till one is sent from God from heaven 
to arrange my fair dear body. 

" Leave my body (fair the fashion), 
in its bonds without disturbance ; 

1 am certain that the noble Artificer who formed me 
will provide for the needs of my body. 

1 Fogrls means " under attack " or " under warmth," " ardour," 
"heat"; could it mean "under the warmth of the sun," i.e. 


" Arise, O Eve, cheerfully, 

and begin a ' cross-vigil ' ; * 

send thou from thee, O Wife, to God's right hand 

my pure soul to holy heaven. 

" The soul that God created in me, 
it is He who recalled it in its uncleanliness ; 
let it go to him perfectly to His dwelling 
with the accompanying of angel-hosts. 

" O Wife, I am not bold, in truth, 
concerning the actions of my good King ; 
the wrath that He showed (pure His sway), 
was an act of affection and mercy." 

(Eve kneels and prays to God. A heavenly messenger 
is sent to her, to tell her that the soul of Adam is parted 
from the body, and that it is safe in the charge of the 
hosts of the archangel Michael.) 

Then Eve went 1. 2105 

quickly towards Adam ; 

until she found Adam (great the love) 

no longer inhaling breath. 

When she heard not 

the voice of Adam speaking to her with fair beauty, 
her senses out of measure overpowered her, 
with long lamentations, with lasting sorrow. 

1 A cross-vigil was a prayer uttered with the arms extended in 
the form of a cross, or sometimes with the body flat on the ground 
in the same position ; such prayers were common in the ancient 
Irish Church. 


(The heavenly messenger speaks) 

" O Eve, lift up thine eyes, 

and suffer us to instruct thee ; 

set thy keen pure glance 

upwards clearly to the heavenly ones. 

" O Woman, raise thy pure face, 
to behold the soul of Adam, 
as it is uplifted brightly 
between hosts of archangels." 

On that Eve turned 

to behold the soul of Adam, 

and she saw the beautiful peaceful soul 

of Adam in the company of Michael. 

While Eve was thus 

recognising the soul of Adam, 

she beheld coming towards it along the ways 

hosts of angels chorus-singing. 

Eve beheld a Seraph 

moving nobly in front of the host 

on three golden wings ; 

fair was the beloved thing l which he bore. 

Then Eve beheld 

three white shining birds 

(which) across the sky from holy heaven 

had arrived (?) in their lustre. 

1 "Pet," or "champion. 


While she was watching the birds, 
Eve herself without great trouble, 
as with a flash of the full sun, 
she became unable to look at them. 

Up unto cloudy heaven was heard 
the choir of the holy angels around Michael ; 
they spread their pleasant ranks then 
circling about the altar of Adam. 

The angels sustained a fitting harmony 
round about the altar ; 
before all the host they burned a herb 
which is caDed " ornamentum." 

The strong smoke l spread 
directly through the air ; 
the doors of the firmament opened 
without any force (?) * 

God came in holiness from heaven 
to the service of Adam's soul ; 
the Soverain King over every sphere 
sat down on His royal throne. 

There went before the pure King 
a noble angel of the angels ; 
he sounded melodiously a clear, shrill note, 
its beautiful report was heard throughout the sevsn 
heavens. 3 

Or " incense. ' t Without guardians or keepers ? 

See p. 18. God is frequently called the " King of the Seven 
Heavens," cf. p. 120. 


Towards the sound of the trumpet, purely splendid, 
went the host of the nine holy grades ; 
truly strong were their clear numbers, 
before the royal throne of the Creator ! 

(The hosts unite in praising the Lord for His 
mercy to Adam) 

Then the King of Wisdom x 1. 2177 

sent from Him quickly a Seraph 

across the slopes of the great mass of the hosts 

with wings of red gold. 

Until they took the soul of Adam without pain, 
so that it was bathed 

in the unpassable (?) river of the ever-living host 2 
" indatinum ciriasu." 

So that he brought with him Adam's pure, clear soul 

thus out of the stream, 

then he placed himself as at the first 

before the presence of the Creator. 

Then the King laid His hand, 

without any consuming (?) upon the soul of Adam. 

He commended it to Michael, 

fair is the tale ! 

" Be thou not harsh, O Michael, 
towards its great bliss, 
place thou the soul of Adam here 
in Paradise. 

i Or " King of Victories." 

* In the Vision of Adamnan the river is of fire. In Dante's 
Pvrgatorio (Canto xxxi.) the soul is bathed in the river of Lethe. 


" Bear the bright pure soul 

of splendid Adam with his accompanying bands, 

place it 

in the third kingly division of Paradise." 

" In the third heaven,' said God, 
' which is called Ficconicia ; 
let it be there without sign of pain 
till the time of the Resurrection.' " 

All the grades in every sphere 
both of angels and archangels, 
sweet was their pure chorus 
praising the Creator ; 

For the remission to the soul of Adam 
from its sins, from its vices ; 
that it should be brought 
again to Paradise. 

Let the oil of mercy 

and the herb " ornamentum " be bestowed 

about the body of Adam 

to cleanse it from its vileness. 

Around the body of Adam 

let three wholesome linen cloths, of special honour, be 

arranged ; 

and let it be buried exactly 
at the side of Abel's sepulchre. 


The body of our fore-father Adam, 

according to writings of manifold genius, 

from afar, under the heavy, sorrowful bonds of death, 

was buried in Hebron. 

It was there under a strong, firm tower 1 
till the coming of the wave-strength of the flood, 
the body of Adam, with honours in its sepulchre, 
under assemblies of the strong. 

The flood of the deluge over every land, 
many countries did it upturn, 
it carried his head from Adam 
and brought it to Jerusalem. 

There the head remained 

before Jerusalem ; 2 

without grief the cross of Christ afterwards 

was planted in the flesh 8 of Adam. 

High King of the Sun, clearly hath it been heard, 1. 2385 

He it was who created Paradise ; 

He who is better than all kings, royal His form, 

there is no limit to His existence. 

1 TromtAur, in 1. 906 of the poem, seems to refer to waves. 
1 Lit. "before the gate of Jerusalem." but see Rev. Celt., vi. 
p. 104. 
8 i.e. in his skull ; this is a curious tradition. 


"One day the young poet Nede fared forth till he stood on the 
margin of the sea, for the poets believed the brink of water to be 
the place of poetic revelation. He heard a sound in the wave, 
even a chant of wailing and sadness, and he marvelled thereat. 

" So the youth cast a spell upon the wave, that it might reveal 
to him the cause of its moaning." Book of Leinster, i86a. 


A Colloquy between the Old Poet and the Young Poet, 
lime : The beginning of the Christian era. 

HE old poet spake to 

the young poet : 
" Who is this sage around 
whom is wrapped the robe of splendour ? 
and whence comes he ? " 
The young poet answered : 

" I spring from the heel of a wise man, 
From the meeting-place of wisdom I come 
forth ; 

From the place where goodness 

dwells serene. 
From the red sunrise of the dawn 

I come, 
Where grow the nine hazels of 

poetic art. 
From the wide circuits of splendour 
Out of which, according to their judgment, truth is 


There is a land where righteousness is instilled, 
And where falsehood wanes into twilight. 



There is a land of varied colours 1 
Where poems are bathed anew. 

And thou, O well-spring of Knowledge, whence comes t 
thou ? 

" Well can the answer be given : 

I move along the columns of age, 
Along the streams of inspiration, 
Along the elf-mound of Nechtan's wife, 
Along the forearm of the wife of Nuada, 2 

Along the fair land of knowledge 
The bright country of the sun ; 

Along the hidden land which by day the moon 

inhabits ; 

Along the first beginnings of life. 

I demand of thee, O wise youth, what it is that lies before 
thee ? " 

" That I can answer thee. 

I travel towards the plain of age, 

Through the mountain-heights of youth. 

I go forward to the hunting-grounds of old age, 

Into the sunny dwelling of a king (death ?), 

Into the abode of the tomb ; 

Between burial and judgment, 

Between battles and their horrors 

Among Tethra's mighty men. 3 
I thou, O master of Wi 

And thou, O master of Wisdom, what lies before thee ? " 

1 The colours denote the qualities of the inhabitants. 

* Two poetic names for the River Boyne ; Nuada was the 
deified ancestor of the Kings of Leinster. In the Boyne dwelt the 
"salmon of knowledge," which the poet must consume, and at its 
source grew the hazels of poetic inspiration. Its tumuli were be- 
lieved to be the haunts of gods or fairies. 

3 Tethra was god of the assemblies of the dead. 


" I pass into the lofty heights of honour, 

Into the community of knowledge, 

Into the fair country inhabited of noble sages, 

Into the haven of prosperities, 

Into the assembly of the king's son. 

Into contempt of upstarts, 

Into the slopes of death where great honour 

O Son of Instructions, whose son art thou I " 

" I am the son of Poetry, 
Poetry son of investigation, 
Investigation son of meditation, 
Meditation son of lore, 
Lore son of research, 
Research son of enquiry, 
Enquiry son of wide knowledge, 
Knowledge son of good sense, 
Good sense son of understanding, 
Understanding son of wisdom, 
Wisdom son of the three gods of Poetry. 
O Fount of Wisdom, of whom art thou the son ? 

" I am the son of the man who has lived, but has 

never been born ; 
Of him who was buried in the womb of his own 

mother ; 1 
Of him who was baptized after his death. 2 

1 Explained in the gloss to mean " the Earth." 

2 i.e. " in the Passion of Christ." 


He of all living, was first betrothed to death, 
His is the first name uttered by the living, 
His the name lamented by all the dead : 
Adam, the High One, is his name." 1 

1 The above translation is founded on Dr. Whitley Stokes 
edition of the Colloquy (see note, p. 349). 


AMORGEN sang : 

am the wind on the sea (for depth) ; 

am a wave of the deep (for weight) ; 

am the sound of the sea (for horror) ; 

am a stag of seven points (? for strength) ; 

am a hawk on a cliff (for deftness) ; 

am a tear of the sun (for clearness) ; 

am the fairest of herbs ; 

am a boar for valour ; 

am a salmon in a pool (i.e. the pools of knowledge) ; 

am a lake on a plain (for extent) ; 

am a hill of Poetry (and knowledge) ; 

am a battle- waging spear with trophies (for spoiling or 

hewing) ; 
I am a god, who fashions smoke from magic fire for a 

head (to slay therewith) ; 
(Who, but I, will make clear every question ?) 
Who, but myself, knows the assemblies of the stone-house 1 

on the mountain of Slieve Mis ? 

Who (but the Poet) knows in what place the sun goes 
down ? 

i Or dolmen? Professor John MacNeill, on whose readings 
the above is founded, notes that a dolmen near Slieve Mis in Co. 
Antrim is called Ticloy (toigh cloiche), and in the local Scotch 
dialect " the stane-hoose." 



Who seven times sought the fairy-mounds without fear ? 

Who declares them, the ages of the moon ? 

Who brings his kine from Tethra's house ? * 

Who segregated Tethra's kine ? 

(For whom will the fish of the laughing sea be making 

welcome, but for me ?) 
Who shapeth weapons from hill to hill (wave to wave, 

letter to letter, point to point) ? 

Invoke, O people of the waves, 2 invoke the satirist, that 

he may make an incantation for thee ! 
I, the druid, who set out letters in Ogham ; 
I, who part combatants ; 
I, who approach the fairy-mounds to seek a cunning 

satirist, that he may compose chants with me. 
I am the wind on the sea. 

1 See note, p. 349. 

2 i.e. the fish, here also called "Tethra's kine" ; this poem is 
generally followed by an incantation for good fishing, to which 
these phrases doubtless refer. 


NESS, let all men stand, 

The hour of thy peril is 

at hand ; 

Pale daughter of old Eo- 
chad Buidhe the mild 
We rise to greet thy child! 
Wife of the ruddy palms 
Let not thy mind be filled 
with terror's qualms ; 
The head of hosts, the one 
Whom thousands shall ex- 
tol, shall be thy son. 

In the same timely hour upon this earth 

He and the King of the World have their birth j 

Through the long ages' gloom 

Now and to the day of doom 

Praises shall echo through the realm of life. 

Heroes, at sight of him, cease their strife ; 

Hostages they twain shall never be 

The Christ and he. 

On the plain of Inisfail he shall come forth, 
On the flag-stone of the meadow to the North. 


Hostages every battle-chief to him will send, 

Through the great world his glory will extend ; 

The king of grace is he, 

The Hound of Ulster he ; 

But and if he falls, 

Darkness and woe descend on Erin's halls. 

Conchobhar, son of Ness " ungentle," is his name ; 

Raids and red routs his valour will proclaim. 

There he will find his death 

Where the expiring breath 

Of the suffering God his vengeful sword demands, 

In the dark hour upon the Holy Lands ; l 

Shining his red sword's track, 

Over the sloping plain of Liana's back. 

1 King Conchobhar was believed to be born in the same year as 
Jesus Christ, and to have met his death in endeavouring to avenge 
the death of Christ. 


WELCOME, little stranger, 
Born in pain and danger, 
He will be our gracious Lord, 
Son of gentle Cathva. 

Son of gentle Cathva, 
From the fort of Brag na Brat ; 
Son of valorous Ness the Young, 
My son, and my grandson. 

My son, and my grandson, 
Of the world the shining One, 
He of old Rath Line the king, 
Poet-prince, my offspring. 

Poet-prince, my offspring, 
Overseas thy hosts thou wilt fling ; 
Little songster from the Brag, 
Little kid, we welcome you. 


From the " Wooing of Etain." 

LOVE much-enduring through a year is 

my love, 
It is grief close-hidden, 1 

It is stretching of strength be- 
yond its bounds, 
It is (fills ?) the four quarters of the 

world ; 

It is the highest height of heaven ; 
It is breaking of the neck, 
It is battle with a spectre, 
It is drowning with water, 
It is a race against heaven, 
It is champion-feats beneath the sea, 
It is wooing the echo ; 

So is my love, and my passion, and my de- 
votion to her to whom I gave them. 

i Lit. " beneath the skin." 


From the " Sickbed of Cuchulain." 

ARISE, O Champion of Ulster ! 
In joyous health mayest thou awake ; 
Look thou on Macha's King, beloved, 
Thy heavy slumber likes him not. 

Behold his shoulder full of brightness, 
Behold his horns for battle-array, 1 
Behold his chariots sweeping the glens, 
Behold the movement of his chess- warriors. 2 

Behold his champions in their might, 
Behold his maiden-troop, tall and gentle, 
Behold his kings a storm of war 
Behold his honourable queens. 

Look forth ! the winter has begun ! 
Note thou each wonder in its turn, 
Behold, for it avails thee well, 
Its cold, its length, its want of colour ! 

i Or "his drinking-horns filled with ale" according to another 
1 Lit. " chess-Fians." 



This heavy slumber is decay, it is not good ; 
Exhaustion from unequal strife ; 

Repose too lengthened is " a drop when one is filled," 1 
Weakness like this is next to death. 2 

Awake from sleep, the peace which drinkers seek, 
With mighty ardour throw it off ; 
Many smooth speeches woo thee here, 
Arise, O Champion of Ulster ! 

1 This seems to be a proverb or saw. 

2 Tanaisi tfifc, lit. "second to death." The "tanist" stood 
next to the chief, and was his successor. 


From the "Sickbed of Cuchulain." 

I CAME with joyous sprightly steps, 
Wondrous the place, though its fame was known, 
Till I reached the cairn where, 'mid scores of bands, 
I found Labra of the flowing hair. 

I found him seated at the cairn, 
Ringed round by thousands of weaponed men, 
Yellow the hair on him, beauteous its hue, 
A ball of ruddy gold enclosing it. 

After a time he recognised me, 

In the purple, five-folded mantle, 

He spake to me, " Wilt thou come with me 

To the house wherein is Failbe Fand ? " 

Two kings are in the house, 

Failbe Fand and Labra, 

Three fifties surround each one of them, 

That the full sum of the one house. 

65 K 


Fifty beds on the right side, 
With fifty nobles (?) in them, 
Fifty beds on the left side, 
With fifty in them also. 

Copper are the borders of the beds, 
White the pillars overlaid with gold ; 
This the candle in their midst, 
A lustrous precious stone. 

At the door westward 

In the place where sets the sun, 

Stand a herd of grey palfreys, dappled their manes, 

And another herd purple-brown. 

There stand at the Eastern door 
Three ancient trees of purple pure, 
From them the sweet, everlasting birds 
Call to the lads of the kingly rath. 

At the door of the liss there is a tree, 

Out of which there sounds sweet harmony, 

A tree of silver with the shining of the sun upon it, 

Its lustrous splendour like to gold. 

Three twenties of trees are there, 
Their crests swing together but do not clash, 
From each of those trees three hundred are fed 
With fruits many- tasted, that have cast their rind. 

There is a well in the noble (?) sidh ; 
There are thrice fifty mantles of various hue, 
And a clasp of gold, all lustrous, 
Holds the corner l of each coloured cloak. 
i Lit " ear.' 


A vat there is of heady mead 
Being dispensed to the household ; 
Still it lasts, in unchanged wise, 
Full to the brim, everlastingly. 

There is a maiden in the noble (?) house 
Surpassing the women of Eire, 
She steps forward, with yellow hair, 
Beautiful, many-gifted she. 

Her discourse with each in turn 
Is beauteous, is marvellous. 
The heart of each one breaks 
With longing and love for her. 

The noble maiden said : 

" Who is that youth whom we do not know ? 

If thou be he, come hither awhile 

The gillie of the Man from Murthemne." 1 

I went to her slowly, slowly, 
Fear for my honour seized me, 
She asked me, " Comes he hither, 
The famous son of Dechtire ? " 

(LAEGH addresses CUCHULAIN) 

Alas, that he 2 went not long ago, 
And every person asking it, 
That he might see, as it is, 
The mighty house that I have seen. 

1 i.e. Cuchulain, whose home-lands lay in the Plain of Murthemne, 
in the district of Co. Louth ; Laegh was Cuchulain's charioteer. 

2 i.e. Cuchulain himself. 


If all Eire were mine, 

And the kingdom of Magh Breg of gold, 

I would give it (no small test) 

Could I frequent the place where I have been ! 


From the " Sickbed of Cuchulain." 

T is I who must go on this journey, 
Ou great necessity were best for me ; 
Though another should have an equal 

Happier for me could I remain. 

Happier it were for me to be here, 
Subject to thee without reproach, 
Than to go, though strange it may seem 

to thee, 
To the royal seat of Aed Abrat. 

The man is thine, O Emer, 

He has broken from me, O noble wife, 

No less, the thing that my hand cannot 

I am fated to desire it. 

Many men were seeking me 

Both in shelters and in secret places ; 

My tryst was never made with them, 

Because I myself was high-minded. 


Joyless she who gives love to one 
Who does not heed her love ; 
It were better for her to be destroyed 
If she be not loved as she loves. 

With fifty women hast thou come hither, 
Noble Emer, of the yellow locks, 
To overthrow Fand, it were not well 
To kill her in her misery. 

Three times fifty have I there, 
Beautiful, marriageable women, 
Together with me in the fort : 
They will not abandon me. 


From the " Wooing of Etain." 

O BEFIND, wilt them come with me, 

To the wondrous land of melody ? 

The crown of their head like the primrose hair, 

Their bodies below as the colour of snow. 

There in that land is no " mine " or " thine," 
White the teeth there, eyebrows black, 
Brilliant the eyes great is the host 
And each cheek the hue of the foxglove. 

How heady soever the ale of Inis Fal 
More intoxicating is the ale of the Great Land ; 
A marvel among lands the land of which I speak, 
No young man there enters on old age. 

Like the purple of the plains each neck, 
Like the ousel's egg the colour of the eye ; 
Though fair to the sight are the Plains of Fal 
They are a desert to him who has known the Great 


Warm, sweet streams across the country, 
Choice of mead and wine, 
Distinguished beings who know no stain, 
Conception without sin, without lust. 

We behold everyone on every side, 
And none beholds us ; 
The gloom of Adam's transgression it is 
Conceals us from their reckoning. 

O Woman, if thou come among my strong people, 
A golden top will crown thy head ; 
Fresh swine-flesh, new milk and ale for drink 
Thou shalt have with me, O woman fair ! 


When they made the road across the bog of Lamracb f<t 
Mider, their King. 

PILE on the soil ; thrust on the soil : 
Red are the oxen around who toil : 
Heavy the troops that my words obey ; 
Heavy they seem, and yet men are they. 
Strongly, as piles, are the tree-trunks placed : 
Red are the wattles above them laced : 
Tired are your hands, and your glances slant ; 
One woman's winning this toil may grant ! 

Oxen ye are, but revenge shall see ; 

Men who are white shall your servants be ; 

Rushes from Teffa are cleared away ; 

Grief is the price that the man shall pay : 

Stones have been cleared from the rough Meath ground 

Where shall the gain or the harm be found ? 

Thrust it in hand ! Force it in hand ! 

Nobles this night, as an ox-troop, stand ; 

Hard is the task that is asked, and who 

From the bridging of Lamrach shall gain, or rue ? 



" As to Deirdre, she was a year in the household of 
Conchobar, after the death of the Sons of Usna. And 
though it might be a little thing to raise her head or 
to bring a smile over her lip, never once did she do it 
through all that space of time. . . . She took not 
sufficiency of food or sleep, nor lifted her head from her 
knee. When people of amusement were sent to her, she 
would break out into lamentation : 

Splendid in your eyes may be the impetuous champions 
Who resort to Emain after a foray ; 
More brilliant yet was the return 
Of Usna's heroes to their home ! 

Noisi bearing pleasant mead of hazel-nuts ; 
I myself bathed him at the fire ; 
Ardan bore an ox or boar of goodly size, 
Ainle, a load of faggots on his stately back. 

Sweet though the excellent mead be found 
Drunk by the son of Ness of mighty conflicts ; 
I have shared ere now, from a chase on the borders, 
Abundant provender more delicious ! 


\Vhen for the cooking-hearth noble Noisi 

Unbound the faggots on the forest hero-board, 

More pleasant than honey was each food, 

Better than all other the spoil brought in by Usna's sons. 

How melodious soever at every time 
May be the sound of pipes and horns, 
Here to-day I make my confession, 
I have heard music sweeter far ! 

Here with Conchobar the king 
Sweet the sound of pipes and horns ; 
More melodious to me the music, 
Famous and entrancing, of Usna's sons. 

The sound of the wave was the voice of Noisi, 

Melodious music that wearied not ever ; 

Mellow the rich-toned notes of Ardan, 

Or the deep chant of Ainle through the hunting-booth. 

They have laid Noisi in the grave ; 
Woeful to me was that convey, 1 
The company whose act poured out for them 
The venomed draught from which they died. 

Loved one of the well-trimmed beard ! most fair is thy 

renown ! 

Shapely one, though thy renown be fair ! 
Alas ! to-day I rise not up 
To greet the coming of Usna's sons. 

* i.e. Fergus mac Roy and his sons, who induced the sons of 
Usna to return with them to Ireland, where they were slain by 
King Conchobar. 


Beloved thy firm and upright mind ! 
Beloved, high champion, modest-hearted, 
After our wandering through the forests of Fal, 1 
Gentle the caress of midnight. 

Dear the grey eye, a woman's love ; 

Though stern of aspect to the foe ! 

As we passed through the trees to the simple tryst, 

Delightful thy deep notes across the sombre woods ! 

I sleep no more ! 

No more I stain my finger-nails with red ; 
No greeting comes to me who watch 
The sons of Usna return no more. 

I sleep not ! 

Through half the wakeful night 

My mind is wandering out amongst the hosts j 

Yet more than that, I neither eat nor smile. 

For me to-day no instant of deep joy, 
Nor noble house, nor rich adornments please ; 
In Emain's gatherings of her mighty men 
I find no peace, nor pleasure, nor repose. 

Splendid as in your eyes may be the impetuous 


Who resort to Emain after a foray ; 
More brilliant yet was the return 
Of Usna's heroes to their home ! " 

i Fdl is a poetic name for Ireland ; Inisfdil means " the Island 
of destiny " or of " knowledge." 


When King Conchobar sought to soothe her, she would 

" What, O Conchobar, of thee ? 

To me nought but tears and lamentation hast thou 

meted out ; 

This is my life, so long as life shall last ; 
Thy love for me is as a flame put out. 1 

He who to me was fairest under heaven, 

He who was most beloved, 

Thou hast torn him from me, great was the injury, 

I see him not until I die. 

The secret of my grief, that it is gone, 
The form of Usna's son revealed to me ; 
A pile I see dark-black above a corpse, 
Bright and well known to me beyond all else. 

Break not, my heart, to-day ! 

I sink ere long into an early grave ; 

Like to the strong sea-wave 

The grief that binds me, if thou but knowest, O King ! 

What, O Conchobar, of thee ? 

To me nought but tears and lamentation hast thou 

meted out ; 

This is my life, so long as life shall last ; 
Thy love, methinks, is as a flame put out." 

1 Lit. " is not lasting." 


" Were but the brown leaf which the wood sheds from it gold- 
were but the white billow silter Fionn would have given it all 
away." The Colloquy with the Ancients. 


AKE my tidings ! 
Stags contend ; 
Snows descend 

Summer's end ! 

A chill wind raging ; 
The sun low keeping, 
Swift to set 
O'er seas high sweep- 

Dull red the fern ; 

Shapes are shadows : 

Wild geese mourn 

O'er misty meadows. 

Keen cold limes 
Each weaker wing. 
Icy times 
Such I sing ! 

Take my tidings ! 


COLD till Doom ! 

Glowers more fearfully the gloom ! 
Each gleaming furrow is a river, 
A loch in each ford's room. 

Each pool is deepened to a perilous pit, 
A standing-stone each plain, a wood each moor ; 
The clamouring flight of birds no shelter finds, 
White snow winds towards the door. 

Like to a spectral host each sharp slim shape, 
Each leaping lake swelled to a mighty main ; 
Wide as a wether's skin each falling flake, 
Shield-broad, each drop of rain. 

Swift frost again hath fastened all the ways, 
It strove and struggled upwards o'er the wold, 
About Colt's standing-stone the tempest sways, 
Shuddering, men cry, " 'Tis cold ! " 


Ascribed to Fionn mac CumhailL 

MAY-DAY ! delightful day ! 
Bright colours play the vale along. 
Now wakes at morning's slender ray 
Wild and gay the blackbird's song. 

Now comes the bird of dusty hue, 
The loud cuckoo, the summer-lover : 
Branchy trees are thick with leaves ; 
The bitter, evil time is over. 

Swift horses gather nigh 
Where half dry the river goes ; 
Tufted heather clothes the height ; 
Weak and white the bogdown blows. 

Corncrake sings from eve to morn, 
Deep in corn, a strenuous bard ! 
Sings the virgin waterfall, 
White and tall, her one sweet word. 

Loaded bees with puny power 
Goodly flower-harvest win ; 
Cattle roam with muddy flanks ; 
Busy ants go out and in. 


Through the wild harp of the wood 
Making music roars the gale 
Now it settles without motion, 
On the ocean sleeps the sail. 

Men grow mighty in the May, 
Proud and gay trie maidens grow ; 
Fair is every wooded height ; 
Fair and bright the plain below. 

A bright shaft has smit the streams, 
With gold gleams the water-flag ; 
Leaps the fish, and on the hills 
Ardour thrills the leaping stag. 

Loudly carols the lark on high, 
Small and shy, his tireless lay, 
Singing in wildest, merriest mood, 
Delicate-hued, delightful May. 



ARRAN of many stags ! 

Her very shoulders washed by ocean's foam ; 

Of companies of hardy men the home, 

Whose blue spears reddened oft along her crags 

Where the quick-leaping deer doth roam. 

Beneath her russet oaks the acorns fall, 

Cool water in her streams, and, scattered all, 

Dark berries lurk, like down-dropped hidden tears, 

Beneath her slowly-moving grasses tall. 

Greyhounds there were in her, and beagles brown ; 
And, when the winding horn her stillness shocks, 
From out the friendly shelter of her rocks 
The startled stag leaps down. 
Around her noble crags, in thickening flocks, 
To one another wheeling sea-mews cry ; 
Yet, all unmoved, the fawns feed silently, 
Unconscious of the storm-cloud's gathering frown 
That spreads across the leaden autumn sky. 

Smooth were her level lands and sleek her swine, 
Cheerful her fields (true is the tale I tell) 
The heavy hazel-boughs remembered well, 
The purple crop, where bramble-trails entwine. 


Above the nestling homesteads of the dell. 

Her whispering streams, her clear deep pools I miss, 

Where brown trout browse beneath the fairy liss ; 

Pleasant thine isle, Arran of bounding stags, 

On such a sultry summer's day as this. 


When they are shut up by Fionn on a sea-girt rock, 
without chance of escape. 

(GoLL speaks) 

THE end is come ; upon this narrow rock 

To-morrow I must die ; 
Wife of the ruddy cheeks and hair of flame, 

Leave me to-night and fly. 

Seek out the camp of Fionn and of his men 

Upon the westward side ; 
Take there, in time to come, another mate. 

Here I abide. 

(GoLL's wife replies) 

Which way, O Goll, is my way, and thou perished ? 

Alas ! few friends have I ! 
Small praise that woman hath whose lord is gone 

And no protector nigh ! 


What man should I wed f I whom great Goll cherished 

And made his wife ? 
Where in the East or West should one be sought 

To mend my broken life ? 

Shall I take Ofsin, son of Fionn the Wise ? 

Or Carroll of the blood-stained hand f 
Shall I make Angus, son of Hugh, my prize ? 

Or swift-foot Corr, chief of the fighting-band ? 

I am as good as they ; aye, good and better, 

Daughter of Conall, Monarch of the West, 

Fostered was I with Conn the Hundred- Fighter, 
Best among all the best. 

Thee out of all I loved, thee my first master, 

Gentlest and bravest thou ; 
Seven years we lived and loved, through calm and tumult, 

And shall I leave thee now ? 

From that night till to-night I found thee never 

Of harsh and churlish mind ; 
And here I vow, no other man shall touch me, 

Kind or unkind. 

Here on this narrow crag, foodless and sleepless, 

Thou takest thy last stand ; 
A hundred heroes, Goll, lie rotting round thee, 

Slain by thy dauntless hand. 

In the wide ocean near us, life is teeming ; 

Yet on this barren rock 
I sink from hunger, and the wild briny waters 

My thirst-pangs mock. 


Fierce is our hunger, fierce are the five battalions 

Sent here to conquer thee ; 
But fiercer yet the drought that steals my beauty 

Midst this surrounding sea. 

Though all my dear loved brothers by one caitiff 

Lay slaughtered in my sight, 
That man I'd call my friend, yea, I would love him, 

Could my thirst ease to-night. 

Eat, Son of Morna, batten on these dead bodies, 

This is my last behest ; 
Feast well, gaunt Goll, then quench thy awful craving 

Here at my breast. 

Nought is there more to fear, nought to be hoped for, 

Of life and all bereft 
High on this crag, abandoned and forsaken, 

Nor hope nor shame is left. 

(GoLL speaks) 

King Conall's daughter, cease this mad entreaty, 

Cease thou, I pray ; 
Never have I a woman's counsel asked for, 

Far less to-day. 

Oh ! pitiful how this thing hath befallen, 
Little red mouth ! 

Lips that of old made speech and happy rr. 
Now dry and harsh with drouth. 


Ever I feared this end ; my haunting terror 

By wave and land 
Was to be caught by Fionn and his battalions 

On some stark, foodless strand. 

Depart not yet ; upon this barren islet, 

Beneath this brazen sky, 
Sweet lips and gentle heart, we sit together 

Until we die. 


From the " Poem-book of Fionn." 

NCE I was yellow-haired, and ring- 
lets feU, 

I n clusters round mybrow; 

Grizzled and sparse to- 
night my short grey 

No lustre in it now. 

Better to me the shining 
locks of youth, 

Or raven's dusky hue, 

Than drear old age, which 
chilly wisdom brings, 

If what they say be true. 

I only know that as I pass the road, 
No woman looks my way ; 

They think my head and heart alike are cold- 
Yet I have had my day. 


NIPPING this winter's night, the snow drifts by, 
Below the hill the boisterous billows roar ; 

'Tis bitter cold to-night the mountain o'er, 
Yet still the ungovernable stag bells forth his 

To-night laid not his side upon the ground 
The deer of Slievecarn of the hundred fights ; 

He, with the stag of Echtge's frozen heights, 
Caught the wolves' snarl, and quivered at the 

I, Caoilte, wakeful lie, and Dermot Donn, 
We, with keen Oscar of the footsteps fleet, 

Watch the slew hours of moving night retreat, 
Whilst the dread pack of hungry wolves comes on. 

Well rests the ruddy deer in dawn's dim light, 
Deep breathing near the covering earthen mound, 

Hidden from sight, as 'twere beneath the ground, 
All in the latter end of chilly night. 


I sit to-night amongst the ancient race, 
And of the younger men but few I know, 

Though, in the ice-bound mornings long ago, 
From my firm grasp the javelin flew apace. 

I thank Heaven's King, I thank sweet Mary's Son, 
My hand it was that silenced countless men ; 

They lie stretched out beneath us in the glen, 

Colder than we, death-cold, lies many and many an one. 


When fleeing from Fionn 
From the " Poem-book of Fionn." 

SLEEP a little, a little little, thou needest feel no fear or 

Youth to whom my love is given, I am watching near thy 


Sleep a little, with my blessing, Dermuid of the light- 
some eye, 

I will guard thee as thou dreamest, none shall harm 
while I am by. 

Sleep, O little lamb, whose homeland was the country of 

the lakes, 
In whose bosom torrents tremble, from whose sides the 

river breaks. 

Sleep as slept the ancient poet, Dedach, minstrel of the 

When he snatched from Conall Cernach Eithne of the 

laughiag mouth. 



Sleep as slept the comely Finncha 'neath the falls of 

Who, when stately Slaine sought him, laid the Hard- 
head Failbe low. 

Sleep in joy, as slept fair Aine, Gailan's daughter of the 

Where, amid the flaming torches, she and Duvach found 

their rest. 

Sleep as Degha, who in triumph, ere the sun sank o'er 

the land, 
Stole the maiden he had craved for, plucked her from 

fierce Deacall's hand. 

Fold of Valour, sleep a little, Glory of the Western world ; 
I am wondering at thy beauty, marvelling how thy locks 
are curled. 

Like the parting of two children, bred together in one 

Like the breaking of two spirits, if I did not see you come. 

Swirl the leaves before the tempest, moans the night- 
wind o'er the lea, 

Down its stony bed the streamlet hurries onward to the 

In the swaying boughs the linnet twitters in the darkling 

On the upland wastes of heather wings the grouse its 

heavy flight. 


la the marshland by the river sulks the otter in his 

den ; 
While the piping of the peeweet sounds across the distant 


On the stormy mere the wild-duck pushes outward from 

the brake, 
With her downy brood beside her seeks the centre of 

the lake. 

In the east the restless roe-deer bellows to his frightened 

On thy track the wolf-hounds gather, sniffing up against 

the wind. 

Yet, O Dermuid, sleep a little, this one night our fear 

hath fled, 
Youth to whom my love is given, see, I watch beside thy 



A beloved, hound, of Fionn's which Goll mac Morna drounifd 
in despite of Fionn. 

CAOILTE sang this : 
MOURNFUL to me the slaying of Conbeg, 1 

Little hound, great was his brightness ; 
Never was one more deft of paw 

Seen in the chase of swine or deer. 

Tribulation to me the slaying of Conbeg, 
Little hound, of the baying voice ; 

Never was one more deft of paw 

Found in the running down of the deer. 

Tribulation to me the drowning of Conbeg 
Upon the mighty grey-green seas ; 

His cruel loss, it brought contention, 2 
A " fill of sorrow " was his death. 

i Conbeg means " little hound." 

i.e. between Fionn and Goll ; Goll was leader of the Conmicht 
Fians and the deadly enemy of Fionn. 


Y mirth and merriment, soft and sweet 

art thou, 

' t Child of the race of Conn art thou ; 
My mirth and merriment, soft and 
sweet art thou, 

Of the race of Coll and 
Conn art thou. 

My smooth green rush, my 

laughter sweet, 

My little plant in the rocky cleft, 
Were it not for the spell on thy 
tiny feet 

Thou wouldst not here be 

Not thou. 

Of the race of Coll and Conn art thou, 
My laughter, sweet and low art thou ; 
As you crow on my knee, 

I would lift you with me, 
Were it not for the mark that is on your feet 
I would lift you away, 

and away, 

with me. 


O MAN that for Fergus of the feasts dost kindle fire, 
Whether afloat or ashore burn not the king of woods. 

Monarch of Innisfail's forests the woodbine is, whom 

none may hold captive ; 
No feeble sovereign's effort is it to hug all tough trees 

in his embrace. 

The pliant woodbine if thou burn, wailings for mis- 
fortune will abound, 

Dire extremity at weapons' points or drowning in great 
waves will follow. 

Burn not the precious apple-tree of spreading and low- 
sweeping bough ; 

Tree ever decked in bloom of white, against whose fair 
head all men put forth the hand. 

The surly blackthorn is a wanderer, a wood that the 

artificer burns not ; 
Throughout his body, though it be scanty, birds in their 

flocks warble. 

The noble willow burn not, a tree sacred to poems ; 
Within his bloom bees are a-sucking, all love the little 



The graceful tree with the berries, the wizard's tree, the 

rowan, burn ; 
But spare the limber tree ; burn not the slender hazel. 

Dark is the colour of the ash ; timber that makes the 

wheels to go ; 
Rods he furnishes for horsemen's hands, his form turns 

battle into flight. 

Tenterhook among woods the spiteful briar is, burn him 

that is so keen and green ; 
He cuts, he flays the foot, him that would advance he 

forcibly drags backward. 

Fiercest heat-giver of all timber is green oak, from him 

none may escape unhurt ; 
By partiality for him the head is set on aching, and by 

his acrid embers the eye is made sore. 

Alder, very battle-witch of all woods, tree that is hottest 

in the fight 
Undoubtedly burn at thy discretion both the alder and 


Holly, burn it green ; holly, burn it dry ; 

Of all trees whatsoever the critically best is holly. 

Elder that hath tough bark, tree that in truth hurts 

Him that furnishes horses to the armies from the sidh 

burn so that he be charred. 


The birch as well, if he be laid low, promises abiding 

fortune ; 
Burn up most sure and certainly the stalks that bear the 

constant pods. 

Suffer, if it so please thee, the russet aspen to come head- 
long down ; 
Burn, be it late or early, the tree with the palsied branch. 

Patriarch of long-lasting woods is the yew, sacred to 

feasts, as is well-known ; 
Of him now build ye dark-red vats of goodly size. 

Ferdedh, thou faithful one, wouldst thou but do my 
behest : 

To thy soul as to thy body, O man, 'twould work ad- 




ARISE to-day 

Through the strength of heaven : 

Light of sun, 

Radiance of moon, 

Splendour of fire, 

Speed of lightning, 

Swiftness of wind, 

Depth of sea, 

Stability of earth, 

Firmness of rock. 

I arise to-day 

Through God's strength to pilot me : 
God's might to uphold me, 
God's wisdom to guide me, 
God's eye to look before me, 
God's ear to hear me, 
God's word to speak for me, 
God's hand to guard me, 
God's way to lie before me, 
God's shield to protect me, 
God's host to save me 
From snares of devils, 
From temptations of vices, 


From every one who shall wish me ill, 

Afar and anear, 

Alone and in a multitude. 

Christ to shield me to-day 

Against poison, against burning, 

Against drowning, against wounding, 

So that there may come to me abundance of reward. 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, 

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, 

Christ on my right, Christ on my left, 

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ 

when I arise, 

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me, 
Christ in every eye that sees me, 
Christ in every ear that hears me. 

I arise to-day 

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the 


Through belief in the threeness, 
Through confession of the oneness 
Of the Creator of Creation. 



BLESSING from the Lord on High 
Over Munster fall and lie ; 
To her sons and daughters all 
Choicest blessings still befall ; 
Fruitful blessing on the soil 
That supports her faithful toil ! 

Blessing full of ruddy health, 
Blessing full of every wealth 
That her borders furnish forth, 
East and west and south and north ; 
Blessings from the Lord on high 
Over Munster fall and lie ! 

Blessing on her peaks in air, 
Blessing on her flag-stones bare ; 
Blessing from her ridges flow 
To her grassy glens below ; 
Blessings from the Lord on High 
Over Munster fall and lie ! 

As the sands upon her shore 
Underneath her ships, for store, 


Be her hearths, a twinkling host 
Over mountain, plain and coast ! 
Blessing from the Lord on High 
Over Munster fall and lie ! 


St. Columcille, or Columba, was born 521, died 597 A.D. 

FAREWELL from me to Ara's Isle, 
Her smile is at my heart no more, 

No more to me the boon is given 
With hosts of heaven to walk her shore. 

How far, alas ! How far, alas ! 

Have I to pass from Ara's view, 
To mil with men from Mona's fen, 

With men from Alba's mountains blue. 

O Ara, darling of the West, 

Ne'er be he blest who loves not thee ! 
O God, cut short her foeman's breath, 

Let hell and death his portion be. 

O Ara, darling of the West, 

Ne'er be he blest who loves not thee, 
Herdless and childless may he go, 

In endless woe his doom to dree. 



O Ara, darling of the West, 

Ne'er be he blest who loves thee not, 

When angels wing from heaven on high, 
And leave the sky for this dear spot. 



From an Irish MS. in the Burgundian Library, Brussels. 

DELIGHTFUL would it be to me 

On a pinnacle of rock, 
That I might often see 

The face of the ocean ; 
That I might watch its heaving waves 

Over the wide sea 
When they chant music to their Father 

Upon the world's course ; 
That I might see its level sparkling strand, 

It would be no cause of sorrow ; 
That I might hear the song of the wonderful birds, 

Source of happiness ; 
That I might hear the thunder of the clamorous waves 

Upon the rocks ; 
That I might hear the roar by the side of the church 

Of the surrounding sea ; 
That I might watch its noble bird-flocks 

Flying over the watery surf ; 
That I might see the ocean-monsters, 

Greatest of all wonders ; 
That I might observe its ebb and flood 

In their cycles ; 


That my mystical name might be, i'faith, 

" Cul ri Erin." 
That on my heart contrition might fall 

On looking upon her ; 
That I might bewail my evils all, 

Though it were not easy to number them ; 
That I might bless the Lord 

Who orders all ; 
Heaven with its countless bright orders 

Land, strand and flood ; 
That I might search in all the books 

That which would help my soul ; 
At times kneeling to the Heaven of my heart, 

At times singing psalms ; 
At times meditating on the King of Heaven, 

Chief of the Holy Ones ; 
At times at work without compulsion 

This would be delightful. 
At times plucking duUisc from the rocks ; 

At other times fishing ; 
At times distributing food to the poor, 

At times in a hermitage ; 
The best guidance from the presence of God 

Has been vouchsafed to me ; 
The King whom I serve will keep from me 

All things that would deceive me. 



Ascribed to St. Cellach of Killala, when imprisoned in a hollow 
oak on the morning before his murder by his old comrades, 
circa $40. 

HAIL to the morning fair, that falls as a flame on the 

greensward ; 
Hail, too, unto Him who bestows her, the morn ever 

fruitful in blessings. 

Robed in her pride she comes, the brilliant sun's little 

Hail to thee, Dawn, thrice hail 1 that lightest my book 

of the hours. 

Thou searchest the secret dwelling, on clansman and 
kindred thou shinest ; 

White-necked, beautiful, hail ! who makest thine up- 
rising golden ! 

The chequered page of my booklet tells me my life was 

Melcroin, 'tis thee whom I fear, 'tis from thee that shall 

come my undoing. 

Scallcrow, thou paltry fowl, sharp-beaked, grey-coated 

and cruel, 
Full well do I guess thy desire, no friendship hast thou 

unto Cellach. 


Raven, O Raven, that croakest, from the top of the rath 

thou art watching, 
Wait but awhile, bird of death, and most surely my flesh 

will suffice thee. 

Fiercely the kite of Cluain Eo will take his part in the 

His talons filled with my flesh, flying off to his haunt in 

the yew-tree. 

Swift through the darkling woodland the foxes will scent 

out my slaughter, 
They on the confines trackless my flesh and my blood 

will devour. 

The mighty wolf from his lair 'neath the rath on the 

East of Drumm Dara, 
To the banquet of bones will betake him, prime chief 

of the curs he will boast him. 

Wednesday night past I saw visions, the wild dogs 

troubled my slumbers, 
Hither and thither they dragged me through russet ferns 

of the coppice. 

'Twas in a dream I saw it ; to the lonely green glen men 

bore me ; 
Five men were we who went thither, I saw only four 

returning. 1 

1 Compare "So the two brothers and their murdered man rode 
past fair Florence," in Keats' Isabella or the Pot of Basil, Stanza 


'Twas in a dream I saw it ; to their dwelling my comrades 

allured me ; 
They poured out the cup of old friendship, they quaffed 

to my luck and long living. 

Scant is thy tail, tiny wren ; thy doleful pipe is pro- 
phetic ; 

Perhaps it is thou art the traitor ; thou, and not they, 
my destroyer. 

For why should Mac Deora deceive me ? His father 

and mine were brothers ; 
Oh ! monstrous deed and unholy, that he should desire 

to harm me ! 

Or why should Meldalua hurt me ? my cousin is he by 

his mother ; 
Twin sisters his mother and mine, yet in truth it was he 

who betrayed me. 

What ill can I get from Melsenig ? For a pure man's 

son I have held him ; 
Melsenig, the son of Melibar, 'tis he who hath plotted 

my downfall. 

Melcroin, my playfellow Melcroin, the crime of thy 

act is yet deeper ; 
For ten thousand ingots of gold would not Cellach have 

stooped to betray thee. 


Vain pelf hath allured thee, O Melcroin, the love of this 

world's fleeting pleasures, 
For the guerdon of hell hast thou sold me, hast sold me, 

thy friend and thy brother ! 

All precious things that I had, my treasures, my sleek- 
coated horses, 

Would I have given to Melcroin, to win him away from 
this treason ! 

Yet in high heaven above me, the great Son of Mary is 

speaking ; 
" Thou art forsaken on earth ; but a welcome awaits thee 

in heaven." 


Abbot of Liath Manchan, now Lemanaghan, in King's Co. 
Died 665 A.D. 

I WISH, O Son of the Living God, O Ancient Eternal 

For a hidden hut in the wilderness, a simple secluded 


The all-blithe lithe little lark in his place, chanting his 

lightsome lay ; 
The calm, clear pool of the Spirit's grace, washing my 

sins away. 

A wide, wild woodland on every side, its shades the 

Of glad-voiced songsters, who at day-dawn chant their 

sweet psalm for me. 

A southern aspect to catch the sun, a brook across the 

A choice land, rich with gracious gifts, down-stretching 

from my door. 


Few men and wise, these I would prize, men of content 

and power, 
To raise Thy praise throughout the days at each canonical 


Four times three, three times four, fitted for every need, 
To the King of the Sun praying each one, this were a 
grace, indeed. 

Twelve in the church to chant the hours, kneeling there 

twain and twain ; 
And I before, near the chancel door, listening their low 


A pleasant church with an Altar-cloth, where Christ sits 

at the board, 
And a shining candle shedding its ray on the white words 

of the Lord. 

Brief meals between, when prayer is done, our modest 

needs supply ; 
No greed in our share of the simple fare, no boasting or 


This is the husbandry I choose, laborious, simple, free, 
The fragrant leek about my door, the hen and the humble 

Rough raiment of tweed, enough for my need, this will 

my King allow ; 
And I to be sitting praying to God under every leafy 



BE Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart, 
Naught is all else to me, save that Thou art. 

Thou my best thought by day and by night, 
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light. 

Be Thou my Wisdom, Thou my true Word ; 
I ever with Thee, Thou with me, Lord. 

Thou my great Father, I thy dear son ; 
Thou in me dwelling, I with Thee one. 

Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for the fight, 
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight. 

Thou my soul's shelter, Thou my high tower ; 
Raise Thou me heavenward, Power of my power. 

Riches I heed not or man's empty praise, 
Thou mine inheritance now and always. 

Thou, and Thou only, first in my heart, 
High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art. 


King of the seven heavens, grant me for dole, 
Thy love in my heart, Thy light in my soul. 

Thy light from my soul, Thy love from my heart, 
King of the seven heavens, may they never depart. 

With the High King of heaven, after victory won, 
May I reach heaven's joys, O Bright heaven's Sun ! 

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, 
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. 


St. Cummine, in whose days the lovers lived, died 661. The 
language is of the ninth century. 

A YOUNG poet and poetess of Connaught were be- 
trothed; but during the year's interval preceding their 
marriage, Liadan, for some unexplained reason, took the 
veil. When Curithir returned to fetch her to his home, 
he found that by her vows she had for ever separated 
herself from him. In his despair he determined to 
follow her example and become a monk. The lovers 
placed themselves together under the direction of St. 
Cummine, a severe and hard man, who permitted them 
to meet, with the object of accusing them of wrong- 
doing. Finally, he gave Curithir the choice of seeing 
Liadan without speaking to her, or speaking to her with- 
out seeing. He chooses the latter, and henceforth they 
wander round each other's cells, speaking together 
through the wattled walls, but never looking on each 
other's faces. The time comes when this can be no 
longer borne, and Curithir sails away to strange lands on 
pilgrimage, so that Liadan saw him no more. She died 
upon the flagstone on which Curithir was wont to pray, 
and was buried beneath it. 
The poem is in the form of a dialogue. 



Curithir, maker of sweet song, 
By me beloved, you do me wrong ! 
Dear master of the two Grey Feet, 1 
Is it like this we meet ? 

(CURITHIR speaks) 

Of late, 

Since I and Liadan understood our fate, 
Each day hath been a month of fasting days, 
Each month a year of doubting of God's ways. 

I had my choice 

To see her gentle form, or hear her voice ; 

" Some comfort yet may reach her from my speech," 

I said ; " we have been ever looking each at each." 

(LIADAN speaks) 

His voice comes up to me again, 
Is it in blame, or is it pain ? 
I catch its accents strained and deep, 
And cannot sleep. 

The flagstone where he bent the knee, 
Beside the wattled oratory, 
'Tis there, at eve, each lonely day, 
I go to pray. 

1 A play on Curithir's patronymic, Mac Doborchon, i.e. " Son of 
the Otter." 


Never for him dear hearth or wife, 
Homestead, or innocent baby life ; 
No mate at his right hand 
Will ever stand. 

Cummine accuses her of wrong and she turns on him : 

Cleric, thy thought is ill ; 
Not with my will you link my name with his, 
From Loch Seng's borderland he comes, I wis, 
I from lar-Conchin's Cill. 

We met, you say ; 

But sure, no honeyed pastures of the flock 
Where lover's arms in lover's arms enlock, 
Was ours that May. 

If Curithir is gone to-day 

To teach the little scholars of the school, 

Small help he'll get who does not know his rule ; 

Curithir's thoughts are very far away. 

At length the news is brought to her that Curithir is 
gone for ever, and she breaks out into a passionate lament. 

The Cry of LIADAN after CURITHIR 

'Tis done ! 

Joyless the victory I have won, 

The tender heart of him I loved I wrung ! 

He called me near 

A little space to please him, but the fear 

Of God in heaven withheld me, and I would not hear. 


Great gain 

To us the way love pointed plain, 

To win the gates of Paradise through pain. 

Reckless and vain 

The whim that caused my lover's love to dim ; 

Great ever was my gentleness to him. 

Liadan am I, 

And Curithir I loved ; it is no lie, 

He would not doubt me now if he were by. 

Short while were we 

Together in the closest intimacy, 

Sweet was the time to him, and sweet to me. 

The music of the lightly waving tree, 
When Curithir was here, would sing to me, 
With the deep voice of the empurpled sea. 

Surely to-day 

No whim of mine would turn his heart away, 

No senseless act or speech, do what I may. 

And to myself I say, 

My love to him was given, my heart, unshriven, 

At his dear feet I lay. 

My heart is flame, 

A tempest heat no ice on earth can tame, 

I cry " I was to blame ! I was to blame ! " 


In praise of his hermit liff. A reply to his brother, King 
Guaire, of Connaught, when asked by him why he did 
not dwell in the Palace. 

King Gi 

died 662 ; but the poem, as we have it, is of 
the tenth century. 

HERE is a shieling hidden in the 

Unknown to all save God ; 

An ancient ash - tree 

and a hazel-bush 
Their sheltering shade 

Around the doorway's 
heather-laden porch 
Wild honeysuckles 

twine ; 

Prolific oaks, within the forest's gloom, 
Shed mast upon fat swine. 


Many a sweet familiar woodland path 
Comes winding to my door ; 

Lowly and humble is my hermitage, 
Poor, and yet not too poor. 

From the high gable-end my lady's throat 

Her trilling chant outpours, 
Her sombre mantle, like the ousel's coat, 

Shows dark above my doors. 

From the high oakridge where the roe-deer leaps 

The river-banks between, 
Renowned Mucraime and Red Roigne's plains 

Lie wrapped in robes of green. 

Here in the silence, where no care intrudes, 

I dwell at peace with God ; 
What gift like this hast thou to give, Prince Guain 

Were I to roam abroad ? 

The heavy branches of the green-barked yew 

That seem to bear the sky ; 
The spreading oak, that shields me from the storm, 

When winds rise high. 

Like a great hostel, welcoming to all, 

My laden apple-tree ; 
Low in the hedge, the modest hazel-bush 

Drops ripest nuts for me. 


Round the pure spring, that rises crystal clear, 

Straight from the rock, 
Wild goats and swine, red fox, and grazing deer, 

At sundown flock. 

The host of forest-dwellers of the soil 

Trysting at night ; 
To meet them foxes come, a peaceful troop, 

For my delight. 

Like exiled princes, flocking to their home, 

They gather round ; 
Beneath the river bank great salmon leap, 

And trout abound. 

Rich rowan clusters, and the dusky sloe, 

The bitter, dark blackthorn, 
Ripe whortle-berries, nuts of amber hue, 

The cup-enclosed acorn. 

A clutch of eggs, sweet honey, mead and ale, 

God's goodness still bestows ; 
Red apples, and the fruitage of the heath, 

His constant mercy shows. 

The goodly tangle of the briar-trail 

Climbs over all the hedge ; 
Far out of sight, the trembling waters wail 

Through rustling rush and sedge. 


Luxuriant summer spreads its coloured cloak 

And covers all the land ; 
Bright blue-bells, sunk in woods of russet oak, 

Their blooms expand. 

The movements of the bright red-breasted men, 

A lovely melody ! 
Above my house, the thrush and cuckoo's strain 

A chorus wakes for me. 

The little music-makers of the world 

Chafers and bees, 
Drone answer to the tumbling torrent's roar 

Beneath the trees. 

From gable-ends, from every branch and stem, 

Sounds sweetest music now ; 
Unseen, in restless flight, the lively wren 

Flits 'neath the hazel-bough. 

Deep in the firmament the sea-gulls fly, 

One widely-circling wreath ; 
The cheerful cuckoo's call, the poult's reply, 

Sound o'er the distant heath. 

The lowing of the calves in summer-time, 

Best season of the year ! 
Across the fertile plain, pleasant the sound, 

Their call I hear. 

Voice of the wind against the branchy wood 

Upon the deep blue sky ; 
Most musical the ceaseless waterfall, 

The swan's shrill cry. 


No hired chorus, trained to praise its chief, 

Comes welling up for me ; 
The music made for Christ the Ever-young, 

Sounds forth without a fee. 

Though great thy wealth, Prince Guaire, happier live 

Those who can boast no hoard ; 
Who take at Christ's hand that which He doth give 

As their award. 

Far from life's tumult and the din of strife 

I dwell with Him in peace, 
Content and grateful, for Thy gifts, High Prince, 

Daily increase. 

(GUAIRE replies) 

Wisely thou choosest, Marvan ; I a king 

Would lay my kingdom by, 
With Colman's glorious heritage I'd part 

To bear thee company 1 


(In the battle of Aidne, Crede, the daughter of King 
Guare of Aidne, beheld Dinertach of the HyFidgenti, 
who had come to the help of Guare, with seventeen 
wounds upon his breast. Then she fell in love with 
him. He died and was buried in the cemetery of 
Colman's Church.) 

THESE are the arrows that murder sleep 
At every hour in the night's black deep ; 
Pangs of Love through the long day ache, 
All for the dead Dinertach's sake. 

Great love of a hero from Roiny's plain 
Has pierced me through with immortal pain, 
Blasted my beauty and left me to blanch 
A riven bloom on a restless branch. 

Never was song like Dinertach's speech 
But holy strains that to Heaven's gate reach ; 
A front of flame without boast or pride, 
Yet a firm, fond mate for a fair maid's side. 

A growing girl I was timid of tongue, 
And never trysted with gallants young, 
But since I have won into passionate age, 
Fierce love-longings my heart engage. 


I have every bounty that life could hold, 
With Guare, arch-monarch of Aidne cold, 
But, fallen away from my haughty folk, 
In Irluachair's field my heart lies broke. 

There is chanting in glorious Aidne's meadow, 
Under St. Colman's Church's shadow ; 
A hero flame sinks into the tomb 
Dinertach, alas my love and my doom ! 

Chaste Christ ! that now at my life's last breath 
I should tryst with Sorrow and mate with Death ! 
At every hour of the night's black deep, 
These are the arrows that murder sleep. 



The Irish of this playful poem was written by a student of the 
Monastery of Carinthia on a copy of St. Paul's Epistles about the 
close of the eighth century. 

I AND Pangur Ban, my cat, 
'Tis a like task we are at ; 
Hunting mice is his delight, 
Hunting words I sit all night. 

Better far than praise of men 
'Tis to sit with book and pen ; 
Pangur bears me no ill-will, 
He, too, plies his simple skill. 

'Tis a merry thing to see 
At our tasks how glad are we, 
When at home we sit and find 
Entertainment to our mind. 

Oftentimes a mouse will stray 
In the hero Pangur's way ; 
Oftentimes my keen thought set 
Takes a meaning in its net. 


'Gainst the wall he sets his eye 
Full and fierce and sharp and sly ; 
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I 
All my little wisdom try. 

When a mouse darts from its den, 
O ! how glad is Pangur then ; 

! what gladness do I prove 
When I solve the doubts I love. 

So in peace our task we ply, 
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I ; 
In our arts we find our bliss, 

1 have mine, and he has his. 

Practice every day has made 
Pangur perfect in his trade ; 
I get wisdom day and night, 
Turning darkness into light. 



Now, Gabriel, be with my heart 
On this first day of seven, 
He, first of the Archangels ; 
And Thou, High King of Heaven. 

Michael be mine, if Monday dawn, 
Michael I call upon, 
There is none like thee, Michael, 
None but Jesu, Mary's Son. 

And oh if Tuesday sorrow bring, 
Let Raphael help it forth, 
One of the seven that hears us weep, 
Sad women of this earth. 

And Uriel hear, if Wednesday wake, 
In his nobility, 

And heal our wounds and care for us 
And calm this wind-torn sea. 

And Sariel, should Thursday come 
With wilder wind and seas, 
On Sariel I cry aloud 
For that solace which is his. 


For sorrow's fast on Friday, 
Out of my need I cry 
On Rumiel, my heart's near friend, 
Though Heaven I know is nigh. 

And Saturday, on Panchel, 
While this yellow world is mine, 
I call on him while shake the leaves 
And the yellow sun doth shine. 

The Trinity protect me still 
Oh blessed Trinity, 
And be my stay in danger's hour ; 
Protect and prosper me. 


Ancient Irish Litany 

Though ascribed to St. Adamnan, Abbot of lona (died 704), the 
biographer of St. Columba, the piece, judging by its language, is 

AINTS of Four Seasons ! 
Saints of the Year ! 
Loving, I pray to you ; longing, I say 

to you : 
Save me from angers, dreeings, and 

dangers ! 

Saints of Four Seasons ! 
Saints of the Year ! 

Saints of Green Springtime ! 
Saints of the Year ! 

Patraic and Grighair, Brig- 
hid be near ! 
My last breath gather with 

God's Foster Father ! 
Saints of Green Springtime ! 
Saints of the Year ! 

Saints of Gold Summer ! 
Saints of the Year ! 
(Poesy wingeth me ! Fancy 

far bringeth me !) 
Guide ye me on to Mary's 
Sweet Son ! 


Saints of Gold Summer ! 
Saints of the Year ! 

Saints of Red Autumn ! 

Saints of the Year ! 
Lo ! I am cheery ! Michil and Mary 
Open wide Heaven to my soul bereaven 1 

Saints of Red Autumn ! 

Saints of the Year ! 

Saints of Grey Winter 
Saints of the Year ! 

Outside God's Palace fiends wait in malice 

Let them not win my soul going in ! 
Saints of Grey Winter ! 
Saints of the Year ! 

Saints of Four Seasons ! 

Saints of the Year ! 

Waking or sleeping, to my grave creeping, 
Life in its Night, hold me God's light ! 

Saints of Four Seasons ! 

Saints of the Year ! 

P. J. McCALL. 


BLACKBIRD, who pourest praise, 

Deep hidden 'neath the bough, 

No bell to call the Hours 

Thou needest, thou ; 

Each hour, O hermit, from thy throat, 

Wells thy sweet, soft, peaceful note. 


TIME was, I was not here ; 
Short the time for me, I fear ! 
Death comes, that is clear ; 
It is not clear when death is near. 



HIGH trees close me round 

Far from the ground the blackbird sings, 

Trilling, it chants its lay 

Above my well-lined book to-day. 

In its soft veil of grey 

The wayward cuckoo calls aloud ; 

Within my wall of green, 

My God shrouds me, all unseen. 


By Mael-Isu (" Servant of Jesus "), of Derry, obit. 1038. 

Dtus meus adiuva me, 
Give me thy love, O Christ, I pray, 
Give me thy love, O Christ, I pray, 
Deus mtus adiuva me. 

In meum cor ut sanum sit, 
Pour, loving King, Thy love in it, 
Pour, loving King, Thy love in it, 
In meum cor ut sanum sit. 

Domine, da ut peto a U, 
O, pure bright sun, give, give to-day, 
O, pure bright sun, give, give to-day, 
Domine, da ut peto a te. 

Hanc spero rem et quaero quam 
Thy love to have where'er I am, 
Thy love to have where'er I am, 
Hanc spero rem et quaero quam. 

Tuum amorem sicut uis, 
Give to me swiftly, strongly, this, 
Give to me swiftly, strongly, this, 
Tuum amorem sicut uis. 


Quaere, postulo, ptto a U, 
That I in heaven, dear Christ, may stay, 
That I in heaven, dear Christ, may stay, 
Quaero, postulo, -peto a te. 

Doming, Doming, txaudi me, 
Fill my soul, Lord, with Thy love's ray, 
Fill my soul, Lord, with Thy love's ray, 
Doming, Doming, exaudi me. 

Dgus meus adiuva me, 

Deus mgus adiuva me. 



(Author and date unknown. ) 

T were my soul's desire 
To see the face of God ; 
It were my soul's desire 
To rest in His abode. 

It were my soul's desire 
To study zealously ; 
This, too, my soul's desire, 
A clear rule set for me. 

It were my soul's desire 
A spirit free from gloom ; 
It were my soul's desire 
New life beyond the Doom. 

It were my soul's desire 
To shun the chills of hell ; 
Yet more my soul's desire 
Within His house to dwell. 

It were my soul's desire 
To imitate my King, 
It were my soul's desire 
His ceaseless praise to sing. 


It were my soul's desire 
When heaven's gate is won 
To find my soul's desire 
Clear shining like the sun. 

Grant, Lord, my soul's desire, 
Deep waves of cleansing sighs ; 
Grant, Lord, my soul's desire 
From earthly cares to rise. 

This still my soul's desire 
Whatever life afford, 
To gain my soul's desire 
And see Thy face, O Lord 


The original of the following poem was ascribed to Ruman 
mac Colmain, an Irish poet of the seventh century, whom the Book 
ofLeinster generously styles " the Homer and Virgil of Ireland." 
It has been edited and exquisitely translated in prose by Pro- 
fessor Kuno Meyer in vol. ii. of Otia Merseiana. He attri- 
butes it to the eleventh century. The old prose account says 
that it was made by Ruman, when challenged by the Danes of 
Dublin to sing of the sea. 

TEMPEST on the great sea-borders, 
Hear my tale, ye viking sworders ! 
Winter smites us, wild winds crying 
Set the salty billows flying, 
Wind and winter, fierce marauders. 

Lir's vast host of shouting water 

Comes against us, charged with slaughter, 

None can tell the dread and wonder 

Speaking in the ocean thunder 

And the tempest, thunder's daughter. 

With the wind of east at morning 
All the waves' wild hearts are yearning 
Westward over wastes of ocean, 
Till they stay their eager motion 
Where the setting sun is burning. 


When the northern wind comes flying, 
All the press of dark waves crying, 
Southward surge and clamour, driven 
To the shining southern heaven, 
Wave to wave in song replying. 

When the western wind is blowing 
O'er the currents wildly flowing, 
Eastward sets its mighty longing 
And the waves go eastward thronging 
Far to find the sun-tree growing. 

When the southern wind comes raining 
Over shielded Saxons straining, 
Waves round Skiddy isle go pouring, 
On Caladnet's beaches roaring, 
In^grey Shannon's mouth complaining. 

Full the sea and fierce the surges, 
Lovely are the ocean verges, 
On the showery waters whirling, 
Sandy winds are swiftly swirling, 
Rudders cleave the surf that urges. 

Hard round Eire's cliffs and nesses, 
Hard the strife, not soft the stresses, 
Like swan-feathers softly sifting, 
Snow o'er Milidh's folk is drifting, 
Manann's wife shakes angry tresses. 


At the mouth of each dark river 
Breaking waters surge and shiver, 
Wind and winter met together 
Trouble Alba with wild weather, 
Countless falls on Dremon quiver. 

Son of God, great Lord of wonder, 
Save me from the ravening thunder, 
By the feast before Thy dying, 
Save me from the tempest crying 
And from Hell, tempestuous under. 



Eleventh century (?) 

EBBTIDE to me ! 

My life drifts downward with the drifting sea ; 
Old age has caught and compassed me about, 
The tides of time run out. 

The " Hag of Beare ! " 

'Tis thus I hear the young girls jeer and mock ; 
Yet I, who in these cast-off clouts appear, 
Once donned a queenly smock. 

Ye love but self, 

Ye churls ! to-day ye worship pelf ! 

But in the days I lived we sought for men, 

We loved our lovers then ! 

Ah ! swiftly when 

Their splendid chariots coursed upon the plain, 
I checked their pace, for me they flew amain, 
Held in by curb and rein. 

I envy not the old, 

Whom gold adorns, whom richest robes enfold, 
But ah ! the girls, who pass my cell at morn, 
While I am shorn ! 


On sweet May-morn 

Their ringing laughter on the breeze is borne, 
While I, who shake with ague and with age, 
In Litanies engage. 

Amen ! and woe is me ! 
I lie here rotting like a broken tree ; 
Each acorn has its day and needs must fall, 
Time makes an end of all ! 

I had my day with kings ! 

We drank the brimming mead, the ruddy wine, 

Where now I drink whey-water ; for company more fine 

Than shrivelled hags, hag though I am, I pine. 

The flood-tide thine ! 

Mine but the low down-curling ebb-tide's flow, 
My youth, my hope, are carried from my hand, 
Thy flood-tide foams to land. 

My body drops 

Slowly but sure towards the abode we know ; 
When God's High Son takes from me all my props 
It will be time to go ! 

Bony my arms and bare 

Could you but see them 'neath the mantle's flap. 
Wizened and worn, that once were round and fair, 
When kings lay in my lap. 


Tis, " O my God " with me, 

Many prayers said, yet more prayers left undone ; 

If I could spread my garment in the sun 

I'd say them, every one. 

The sea-wave talks, 

Athwart the frozen earth grim winter stalks ; 
Young Fermod, son of Mugh, ne'er said me nay, 
Yet he comes not to-day. 

How still they row, 

Oar dipped by oar the wavering reeds among, 
To Alma's shore they press, a ghostly throng, 
Deeply they sleep and long. 

No lightsome laugh 

Disturbs my fireside's stillness ; shadows fall, 
And quiet forms are gathering round my hearth, 
Yet lies the hand of silence on them all. 

I do not deem it ill 

That a nun's veil should rest upon my head 
But finer far my feast-robe's various hue 
To me, when all is said. 

My very cloak grows old ; 
Grey is its tint, its woof is frayed and thin ; 
I seem to feel grey hairs within its fold, 
Or are they on my skin ? 


happy Isle of Ocean, 

Thy flood-tide leaps to meet the eddying wave 
Lifting it up and onward. Till the grave 
The sea-wave comes not after ebb for me. 

1 find them not 

Those sunny sands I knew so well of yore ; 
Only the surf's sad roar sounds up to me, 
My tide will turn no more. 


"A.D. 946. Gormliatb, daughter of Flann, Queen of Nial 
Glundubh, or " Black-knee," died after intense penance for her sins 
and transgressions." Annals of the Four Masters. 

MOVE, O Monk, thy foot away ! 
Lift it from the grave of Nial ! 
All too high thou heap'st the pile ; 
All too deep thou diggest the clay. 

Brown-haired Monk, most gentle friend, 
Press not with thy foot the soil 
Nial to cover, heavy toil, 
Of thy labours make an end. 

Mournful priest, thy prayers delay, 
Close not yet the prince's tomb, 
Make an opening, for I come ; 
Move, O Monk, thy foot away ! 

Not my will that brought thee bound, 
Black-kneed Nial, with heart of gold ! 
When mine arms his form enfold, 
Raise his stone, and smooth his mound. 


Gormliath I, a Queen commands, 
Daughter of King Flann the brave ; 
Press not then upon his grave ; 
Move, O Monk, thy foot away ! 


Then, as the executioner plucked her son from her 
breast, one of the women said : 

" Why are you tearing 
Away to his doom, 
The child of my caring, 
The fruit of my womb. 
Till nine months were o'er 
His burden I bore, 
Then his pretty lips pressed 
The glad milk from my breast, 
And my whole heart he filled, 
And my whole life he thrilled. 

All my strength dies, 

My tongue speechless lies, 

Darkened are my eyes ! 

His breath was the breath of me ; 

His death is the death of me." 

Then another woman said : 

" 'Tis my own son that from me you wring, 
I deceived not the King. 


But slay me, even me, 
And let my boy be. 
A mother most hapless, 
My bosom is sapless, 
Mine eyes one tearful river, 
My frame one fearful shiver, 
My husband sonless ever, 
And I a sonless wife 
To live a death in life. 

O my son ! O God of Truth ! 

O my unrewarded youth, 

O my birthless sicknesses 

Until doom without redress. 

O my bosom's silent nest, 

O the heart broke in my breast." 

Then said another woman : 

" Murderers, obeying 

Herod's wicked willing, 

One ye would be slaying, 

Many are ye killing. 

Infants would ye smother ? 

Ruffian, ye have rather 

Wounded many a father, 

Slaughtered many a mother. 
Hell's black jaws your horrid deed is glutting, 
Heaven's white gate against your black souls shutting. 

Ye are guilty of the Great Offence ! 

Ye have spilled the blood of Innocence." 


And yet another woman said : 

" O Lord Christ, come to me ! 

Nay, no longer tarry ! 
With my son home to Thee 

My soul quickly carry. 
O Mary great, O Mary mild, 

Of God's One Son the Mother, 
What shall I do without my child ? 

For I have now no other. 
For Thy Son's sake my son they slew, 

Those murderers inhuman ; 
My sense and soul they slaughtered too. 

I am but a crazy woman. 
Yea, after that most piteous slaughter, 
When my babe's life ran out like water, 
The heart within my bosom hath become 
A clot of blood from this day till the Doom ! " 


By Murdoch O'Daly, called Murdoch "the Scotchman 
(Muredach Albanach), on account of his affection for that country ; 
born in Connaught towards the close of the twelfth century. 

How great the tale, that there should be, 
In God's Son's heart, a place for me ! 
That on a sinner's lips like mine, 
The cross of Jesus Christ should shine ! 

Christ Jesus, bend me to Thy will, 
My feet to urge, my griefs to still ; 
That even my flesh and blood may be 
A temple sanctified to Thee. 

No rest, no calm, my soul may win, 
Because my body craves to sin, 
Till Thou, dear Lord, Thyself impart 
Peace to my head, light to my heart. 

May consecration come from far, 
Soft shining like the evening star ! 
My toilsome path make plain to me, 
Until I come to rest in Thee. 


By the same Poet. 

EACH me, O Trinity, 
All men sing praise to Thee, 
Let me not backward be, 

Teach me, O Trinity. 

Come Thou and dwell 

with me, 
>. Lord of the holy race ; 

Make here thy resting- 

Hear me, O Trinity. 

That I Thy love may prove, 
Teach Thou my heart and hand, 
Ever at Thy command 
Swiftly to move. 


Like to a rotting tree 
Is this vile heart of me ; 
Let me Thy healing see, 
Help me, O Trinity. 

Sinful, beholding Thee ; 
Yet clean from theft and blood 
My hands; O Son of God, 
For Mary's love, answer me. 

In my adversity 
No great man stooped to me, 
No good man pitied me, 
God ope'd His heart to me. 

Lied I, as others lie, 
They deceived, so have I, 
On others' lie I built my lie 
Will my God pass this by ? 

Truth art Thou, truth I crave, 
If on a lie I rest, I'm lost ; 
My vow demands my uttermost 
Save, Trinity, O save ! 


When be and Catbal of the Red Hand, King of Connavght, 
entered the monastic life together. 

MURDOCH, whet thy knife, that we may shave our crowns 

to the Great King, 
Let us sweetly give our vow, and the hair of both our 

heads to the Trinity. 
I will shave mine to Mary, this is the doing of a true 

To Mary shave thou these locks, well-formed, soft-eyed 

Seldom hast thou had, handsome man, a knife on thy 

hair to shave it, 
Oftener has a sweet, soft queen, comb'd her hair beside 

Whenever it was that we did bathe, with Brian of the 

well-curled locks, 
And once on a time that I did bathe, at the well of the 

fair-haired Boroimhe, 
I strove in swimming with Ua Chais, on the cold waters 

of the Fergus. 

When he came ashore from the stream, Ua Chais and I 
strove in a race. 



These two knives, one to each, were given us by Duncan 

No knives of knives were better ; shave gently then, 

Whet your sword, Cathal, which wins the fertile Banva, 

Ne'er was thy wrath heard without fighting, brave, red- 
handed Cathal, 

Preserve our shaved heads from cold and from heat, 
gentle daughter of Joachim, 

Preserve us in the land of heat, softest branch, Mary. 


Carol O'Daly, early thirteenth century. 

" COME, love, and dwell with me, 

Eileen aroon ; 
I'll roam the world with thee, 

Eileen aroon ! 
Down to Terawley free, 
From this sad house we'll flee, 
If thou wilt wed with me, 

Eileen aroon ! 

" We'll seek a home of peace, 

Eileen aroon ; 
All fear and doubt shall cease, 

Eileen aroon. 
If thou wilt seek my side, 
If thou wilt be my bride, 
All matters not beside, 
Eileen aroon. 

" Then, wilt thou fly or stay, 
Eileen aroon ? 

Ah ! do not say me nay, 

Come to me soon." 



" I come, I come to thee, 
Life of the world to me, 
Nought holds me, for I flee 
Thus to thy home." 

" Welcome thy steps before, 

Eileen aroon. 
Fling wide our cottage door, 

Eileen aroon. 
Oh ! welcome evermore, 
My darling and my store, 
Thou shalt go out no more, 
Eileen aroon ! " 


I do not know of anything under the sky 
That is friendly or favourable to the Gael, 
But only the sea that our need brings us to, 
Or the wind that blows to the harbour 
The ship that is bearing us away from Ireland ; 
And there is reason that these are reconciled with us, 
For we increase the sea with our tears, 
And the wandering wind with our sighs." 



By O'Gnive, bard of Shane O'Neill, circa 1560. 

Y heart is in woe, 

And my soul deep in 


For the mighty are low, 
And abased are the 

The Sons of the Gael 
Are in exile and mourn- 

Worn, weary, and pale, 
As spent pilgrims re- 
turning ; 

Or men who, in flight 

From the field of disaster, 
Beseech the black night 
On their flight to fall faster ; 

Or seamen aghast 

When their planks gape asunder, 
And the waves fierce and fast 

Tumble through in hoarse thunder ; 


Or men whom we see 

That have got their death-omen 
Such wretches are we 

In the chains of our foemen 1 

Our courage is fear, 
Our nobility vileness, 

Our hope is despair, 
And our comeliness foulness. 

There is mist on our heads, 
And a cloud chill and hoary 

Of black sorrow sheds 
An eclipse on our glory. 

From Boyne to the Linn 
Has the mandate been given, 

That the children of Finn 

From their country be driven. 

That the sons of the king 
Oh, the treason and malice ! 

Shall no more ride the ring 
In their own native valleys ; 

No more shall repair 

Where the hill foxes tarry, 
Nor forth to the air 

Fling the hawk at her quarry ; 


For the plain shall be broke 

By the share of the stranger, 
And the stone-mason's stroke 

Tell the woods of their danger ; 

The green hills and shore 

Be with white keeps disfigured, 
And the Moat of Rathmore 

Be the Saxon churl's haggard ! 

The land of the lakes 

Shall no more know the prospect 
Of valleys and brakes 

So transform'd is her aspect ! 

The Gael cannot tell. 

In the uprooted wild-wood 

And red ridgy dell, 
The old nurse of his childhood ; 

The nurse of his youth 

Is in doubt as she views him, 
If the wan wretch, in truth, 

Be the child of her bosom. 

We starve by the board, 

And we thirst amid wassail 

For the guest is the lord, 
And the host is the vassal ! 


Through, the woods let us roam, 

Through the wastes wild and barren ; 

We are strangers at home ! 
We are exiles in Erin ! 

And Erin's a bark 

O'er the wide waters driven ! 
And the tempest howls dark, 

And her side planks are riven ! 

And in billows of might 

Swell the Saxon before her, 

Unite, oh, unite ! 
Or the billows burst o'er her ! 



By his bard, Teig Dall O'Higgin, about 1566. 

" And first for Owryrke : I found hym the proudest 
man that ever I delt with in Irelande." (Sir Henry 
Sydney to the Privy Council, from Dublin, 1576.) 

" THE man of war is he who dwells in safety," 
A well-worn adage that shall never cease, 
Save only when it girdeth on its armour 
May many-wooded Banba hope for peace. 

Why sit ye still ? the Clans of valorous Eoghan, 
The Clans of Conn and Conor round you stand ; 
Do ye not hear the troops of Saxon England 
March o'er your plains and trample down your land ? 

1 O'Rourke, Prince of Brefney, was a man whom Elizabeth and 
her representatives in Ireland found it hard to tackle. His hand- 
some presence, his dignity and pride, gave rise to stories of his 
ascendency over Elizabeth herself. When lying prisoner in the 
Tower of London, he is said to have sent to ask Elizabeth the 
favour of being hung, if hang he must, with a gad or withe, after 
his country's fashion, a request which Cox, who relates the story, 
says was doubtless willingly granted him. He was executed in 
I 597- (Cox's Hibemia Anglicana, ed. 1689, p. 399 ; cf. Bacon's 
reference to the story in his essay " Of Custom and Education.") 


Let Brian, son of Brian, out of Brefney, 
Beware the sweetness of their honeyed tongue, 
Their greed and need, their indigence and riches, 
Two-handed spoil from Ireland's sons have wrung. 

Let Brian, son of Brian, son of Eoghan, 

Ponder if one man ever came away, 

Who put his trust in England's perjured honour, 

Unscathed by guile, unharmed by treachery ? 

As waters rising 'neath the snows of winter, 
As hamlets flaming from one secret spark, 
So shall the chiefs of Erinn rally round him, 
When Brian's star arises on the dark. 

Then shall wild creatures find their surest covert 
Among the broken homesteads of the Pale ; 
The wolves' deep snarl be heard beside her mansions, 
On grass-green Tara's slopes the children's wail. 

Where once arose their lightsome lime-washed dwellings, 
Where once were precious things of price displayed, 
Be thenceforth whispered, in affrighted accents, 
That such things had been, ere O'Rourke's fierce raid. 

By him be felled their rich fruit-bearing orchards, 
Each open highway clothed with ragged weeds ; 
Long ere the harvest-hour their crops be scattered 
By his and Connaught's sons' death-dealing deeds. 


Leave hungry famine in Boyne's fertile borders, 
Bir of the spreading-boughs bend 'neath his smart, 
So that a mother on Meath's richest pastures 
Shall munch the morsel of her first child's heart. 

Right up to Taillte's very walls and towers 

Their villages be levelled with the earth ; 

Their mills and kilns and haggarts swept before them ; 

Where wealth and plenty reigns, dread want and dearth. 

Smooth into desert wastes fair Usna's mountains, 
Pile into hills each widespread pleasant plain ; 
So that a wandering man may seek her cities, 
So he may search her high cross-roads in vain. 

By such and such an one let this be treasured 
(A tale of wonder for the passing guest) 
That on the plain was heard a heifer lowing, 
A tinkling cow-bell from the headland's crest. 

Shrink not, O desperate band, from weapon- wounding, 
Stand as one body, man by brother man ; 
Had but the clans of Erinn cleaved together 
Your land and you had not been under ban. 

Arouse thee, valiant Brian of the Bulwarks ! 
And God be with the champions of the Gael ! 
The children of the seed of Conn and Eoghan 
Stand round thee ; canst thou fail ? 


Eochadh O'Hosey or Hussey was bard of the Maguires of 
Fermanagh. The campaign of Hugh Maguire, celebrated in this 
poem, was undertaken in 1599-1600 into Munster. 

WHERE is my chief, my master, this bleak night, mavrone ? 
O cold, cold, miserably cold is this bleak night for Hugh ! 
Its showery, arrowy, speary sleet pierceth one thro' and 

Pierceth one to the very bone. 

Rolls real thunder ? Or was that red vivid light 

Only a meteor ? I scarce know ; but through the 

midnight dim 
The pitiless ice-wind streams. Except the hate that 

persecutes him, 
Nothing hath crueler venomy might. 

An awful, a tremendous night is this, meseems ! 

The flood-gates of the rivers of heaven, I think, have 

been burst wide ; 
Down from the overcharged clouds, like to headlong 

ocean's tide, 

Descends grey rain in roaring streams. 


Tho' he were even a wolf ranging the round green woods, 
Tho' he were even a pleasant salmon in the unchainable 

Tho' he were a wild mountain eagle, he could scarce 

bear, he, 
This sharp sore sleet, these howling floods. 

O mournful is my soul this night for Hugh Maguire ! 
Darkly as in a dream he strays. Before him and behind 
Triumphs the tyrannous anger of the wounding wind, 
The wounding wind that burns as fire. 

It is my bitter grief, it cuts me to the heart 

That in the country of Clan Barry this should be his 

fate ! 
O woe is me, where is he ? Wandering, houseless, 

Alone, without or guide or chart ! 

Medreams I see just now his face, the strawberry-bright, 

Uplifted to the blackened heavens, while the tem- 
pestuous winds 

Blow fiercely over and round him, and the smiting sleet- 
shower blinds 

The hero of Galang to-night ! 

Large, large affliction unto me and mine it is 
That one of his majestic bearing, his fair stately form, 
Should thus be tortured and o'erborne ; that this un- 
sparing storm 
Should wreak its wrath on head like his ! 


That his great hand, so oft the avenger of the oppressed, 
Should this chill churlish night, perchance, be paralysed 

by frost ; 
While through some icicle-hung thicket, as one lorn and 

He walks and wanders without rest. 

The tempest-driven torrent deluges the mead, 
It overflows the low banks of the rivulets and ponds ; 
The lawns and pasture-grounds lie locked in icy bonds, 
So that the cattle cannot feed. 

The pale-bright margins of the streams are seen by none ; 
Rushes and sweeps along the untamable flood on every 

side ; 
It penetrates and fills the cottagers' dwellings far and 

wide ; 
Water and land are blent in one. 

Through some dark woods, 'mid bones of monsters, 

Hugh now strays, 
As he confronts the storm with anguished heart, but 

manly brow, 
O what a sword-wound to that tender heart of his, were 

A backward glance at peaceful days ! 

But other thoughts are his, thoughts that can still 

With joy and onward-bounding hope the bosom of Mac- 


Thoughts of his warriors charging like bright billows of 

the sea, 
Borne on the wind's wings, flashing fire ! 

And tho' frost glaze to-night the clear dew of his eyes, 
And white ice-gauntlets glove his noble fine fair fingers 


A warm dress is to him that lightening-garb he ever wore, 
The lightening of his soul, not skies. 


Hugh marched forth to fight : I grieved to see him so 

And lo ! to-night he wanders frozen, rain-drenched, 

sad betrayed ; 
But the memory of the lime-white mansions his right 

hand hath laid 
In ashes, warms the hero's heart ! 



Buried in San Pietro Montorio at Rome 

Addressed to Nuala, the O'Donnell's sister, by Owen Roe mac 
an Bhaird (or Ward), the family Bard, in 1608-9. 

WOMAN of the piercing wail, 

Who mournest o'er yon 

mound of clay 
With sigh and groan, 
Would God thou wert 

among the Gael ! 
Thou would'st not then 

from day to day 
Weep thus alone. 
'Twere long before 

around a grave 
In green Tyrconnel, 

one could find 
This loneliness ; 

Near where Beann-Boirche's banners wave, 
Such grief as thine could ne'er have pined 


Beside the wave in Donegal, 

In Antrim's glens, or fair Dromore, 

Or Killilee, 

Or where the sunny waters fall 

At Assaroe, near Erna shore, 

This could not be. 

On Derry's plains, in rich Drumcliff, 

Throughout Armagh the Great, renowned 

In olden years, 

No day could pass but woman's grief 

Would rain upon the burial-ground 

Fresh floods of tears ! 

O no ! From Shannon, Boyne, and Suir, 

From high Dunluce's castle-walls, 

From Lissadill, 

Would flock alike both rich and poor : 

One wail would rise from Cruachan's halls 

To Tara hill ; 

And some would come from Barrow-side, 

And many a maid would leave her home 

On Leitrim's plains, 

And by melodious Banna's tide, 

And by the Mourne and Erne, to come 

And swell thy strains ! 

Oh, horses' hoofs would trample down 

The mount whereon the martyr-saint 

Was crucified ; 

From glen and hill, from plain and town, 

One loud lament, one thrilling plaint, 

Would echo wide. 

There would not soon be found, I ween, 


One foot of ground among those bands 

For museful thought, 

So many shriekers of the keen 

Would cry aloud, and clap their hands, 

All woe-distraught ! 

Two princes of the line of Conn 

Sleep in their cells of clay beside 

O'Donnell Roe : 

Three royal youths, alas ! are gone, 

Who lived for Erin's weal, but died 

For Erin's woe. 

Ah, could the men of Ireland read 

The names those noteless burial-stones 

Display to view, 

Their wounded hearts afresh would bleed, 

Their tears gush forth again, their groans 

Resound anew ! 

The youths whose relics moulder here 

Were sprung from Hugh, high prince and lord 

Of Aileach's lands ; 

Thy noble brothers, justly dear, 

Thy nephew, long to be deplored 

By Ulster's bands. 

Theirs were not souls wherein dull time 

Could domicile decay, or house 

Decrepitude ! 

They passed from earth ere manhood's prime, 

Ere years had power to dim their brows, 

Or chill their blood. 


And who can marvel o'er thy grief, 
Or who can blame thy flowing tears, 
Who knows their source ? 
O'Donnell, Dunnasava's chief, 
Cut off amid his vernal years, 
Lies here a corse 

Beside his brother Cathbar, whom 
Tyrconnell of the Helmets mourns 
In deep despair : 

For valour, truth, and comely bloom, 
For all that greatens and adorns, 
A peerless pair. 

Oh, had these twain, and he, the third, 

The Lord of Mourne, O'Niall's son 

(Their mate in death, 

A prince in look, in deed, and word), 

Had these three heroes yielded on 

The field their breath, 

Oh, had they fallen on Criffan's plain, 

There would not be a town or clan 

From shore to sea, 

But would with shrieks bewail the slain, 

Or chant aloud the exulting rann 

Of jubilee ! 

What do I say ? Ah, woe is me ! 

Already we bewail in vain 

Their fatal fall ! 

And Erin, once the great and free, 

Now vainly mourns her breakless chain, 

And iron thrall. 


Then, daughter of O'Donnell, dry 
Thine overflowing eyes, and turn 
Thy heart aside, 
For Adam's race is born to die, 
And sternly the sepulchral urn 
Mocks human pride. 

Look not, nor sigh, for earthly throne, 

Nor place thy trust in arm of clay, 

But on thy knees 

Uplift thy soul to God alone, 

For all things go their destined way 

As He decrees. 

Embrace the faithful crucifix, 

And seek the path of pain and prayer 

Thy Saviour trod ; 

Nor let thy spirit intermix 

With earthly hope, with worldly care, 

Its groans to God ! l 

And Thou, O mighty Lord ! whose ways 

Are far above our feeble minds 

To understand, 

Sustain us in these doleful days, 

And render light the chain that binds 

Our fallen land ! 

1 The literal translation of this stanza runs as follows : 
"For God's sake, thy weighty sorrow banish away, O daughter 
of O'Donnell ! Short time till thou in self-same guise must tread 
the way ; the same path's weariness awaits thee. In hand of clay 
put not thy trust. . . . Think on the cross that stands beside thee, 
and, in lieu of thy vain sorrowing, from oft" the sepulchre lift up 
thine arm and bid thy grief begone." O'Grady's Cat of MSS. in 
the Brit. Mus., pp. 372-73. 


Look down upon our dreary state, 
And thro' the ages that may still 
Roll sadly on, 

Watch Thou o'er hapless Erin's fate, 
And shield at least from darker ill 
The blood of Conn ! 



Or the " Lament of Thomas Flavell, or Lavell," c. 1660. 

ON the deck of Patrick Lynch's boat I sat in woeful 

Through my sighing all the weary day, and weeping all 

the night, 

Were it not that full of sorrow from my people forth I go, 
By the blessed sun ! 'tis royally I'd sing thy praise, Mayo ! 

When I dwelt at home in plenty, and my gold did much 

In the company of fair young maids the Spanish ale went 

'Tis a bitter change from those gay days that now I'm 

forced to go, 
And must leave my bones in Santa Cruz, far from my 

own Mayo. 

They are altered girls in Irrul now ; ' tis proud they're 

grown and high, 
With their hair-bags and their top-knots for I pass their 

buckles by ; 

But it's little now I heed their airs, for God will have it so, 
That I must depart for foreign lands, and leave my sweet 



'Tis my grief that Patrick Loughlin is not Earl of Irrul 

And that Brian Duff no longer rules as Lord upon the 

And that Colonel Hugh MacGrady should be lying dead 

and low, 

And I sailing, sailing swiftly from the county of Mayo. 

GEORGE Fox. 1 

1 Lady Ferguson, in her Life of her husband, says that he was 
the true author of this poem, but that as Fox had a hand in it, he 
allowed it to be attributed to him. Sir Samuel dedicated his 
poems to Fox in 1880. 


OH, many a day have I made good ale in the glen, 

That came not of stream or malt like the brewing of 

My bed was the ground; my roof, the greenwood 

And the wealth that I sought, one far kind glance from 

my love. 

Alas ! on that night when the horses I drove from the 


That I was not near from terror my angel to shield. 
She stretched forth her arms her mantle she flung to 

the wind, 
And swam o'er Loch Lene her outlawed lover to find. 

Oh would that a freezing, sleet-winged tempest did 


And I and my love were alone, far off on the deep ! 
I'd ask not a ship, or a bark, or pinnace, to save, 
With her hand round my waist I'd fear not the wind 

or the wave. 



'Tis down by the lake where the wild-tree fringes its 


The maid of my heart, my fair one of Heaven resides ; 
I think as at eve she wanders its mazes along, 
The birds go to sleep by the sweet, wild twist of her 




Seventeenth century. 

IF thou wilt come with me to the County of Leitrim, 

Flower of Nut-brown Maids 
Honey of bees and mead to the beaker's brim 

I'll offer thee, Nut-brown Maid. 
Where the pure air floats o'er the swinging boats of the 

Under the white-topped wave that laves the edge of the 


There without fear we will wander together, hand 
clasped in hand, 

Flower of Nut-brown Maids. 

My heart never gave you liking or love, 

Said the Flower of Nut-brown Maids ; 

Though sweet are your words, there's black famine above, 
Said the Flower of Nut-brown Maids ; 

Will gentle words feed me when need and grim hunger 
come by ? 

Better be free than with thee to the woodlands to fly ; 

What gain to us both if together we famish and die ? 
Wept the Flower of Nut-brown Maids. 


I saw her coming towards me o'er the face of the 

Like a star glimmering through the mist ; 
In the field of furze where the slow cows were browsing 

In pledge of our love we kissed ; 
In the bend of the hedge where the tall trees play with 

the sun, 

I wrote her the lines that should bind us for ever in one ; 
Had you a right to deny me the dues I had won, 
O Flower of Nut-brown Maids ? 

My grief and my torment that thou art not here with me 

Flower of Nut-brown Maids ! 
Alone, all alone, it matters not where or how, 

O Flower of Nut-brown Maids ; 
On a slender bed, O little black head, strained close to 


Or a heap of hay, until break of day, it were one to me, 
Laughing in gladness and glee together, with none to sec, 
My Flower of Nut-brown Maids. 


THERE'S black grief on the plains, and a mist on the 


There is fury on the mountains, and that is no wonder ; 
I would empty the wild ocean with the shell of an egg, 
If I could be at peace with thee, my Ros geal dubh. 

Long is the course I travelled from yesterday to to-day, 
Without, on the edge of the hill, lightly bounding, as 

I know, 

I leapt Loch Erne to find her, though wide was the flood, 
With no light of the sun to guide my path, but the Ros 

geal dubh. 

If thou shouldst go to the Aonach to sell thy kine and stock, 
If you go, see that you stay not out in the darkness of 

the night ; 

Put bolts upon your doors, and a heavy reliable lock, 
Or, in faith, the priest will be down on you, on my Ros 

geal dubh ! 

O little Rose, sorrow not, nor be lamenting now, 

There is pardon from the Pope for thee, sent straight 

home from Rome, 

The friars are coming overseas, across the heaving wave, 
And Spanish wine will then be thine, my Ros geal dubh. 



There is true love in my heart for thee for the passing 

of a year, 
Love tormenting, love lamenting, heavy love that wearies 

Love that left me without health, without a path, gone 

all astray, 
And for ever, ever, I did not get my Ros geal dubh ! 

I would walk Munster with thee and the winding ways 

of the hills, 

In hope I would get your secret and a share of your love ; 
O fragrant Branch, I have known it, that thou hast love 

for me, 
The flower -blossom of wise women is my Ros geal dubh. 

The sea will be red floods, and the skies like blood, 
Blood-red in war the world will show on the ridges of 

the hills ; 
The mountain glens through Erinn and the brown bogs 

will be quaking 
Before the day she sinks in death, my Ros geal dubh ! 1 

1 Ros geal dubh means the "Fair-dark Rose," here used as a 
love-title for Ireland; Raisin Dubh means " Little black or dark 
Rose." The above is a literal translation of the Irish poem upon 
which Mangan's ' ' Dark Rosaleen " was formed. The opening 
quatrain is found in Petrie's Ancient Music of Ireland, but not 
in O' Daly's collection. 


MY dark Rosaleen, 

Do not sigh, do not 

weep ! 
The priests are on the 

ocean green, 
They march along the 

There's wine from the 

royal Pope 

Upon the ocean green ; 
And Spanish ale shall 

give you hope, 
My Dark Rosaleen ! 
My own Rosaleen 1 
Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope, 
Shall give you health, and help, and hope, 
My Dark Rosaleen ! 

Over hills and thro' dales, 
Have I roamed for your sake ; 
All yesterday I sailed with sails 
On river and on lake. 
The Erne at its highest flood 
I dashed across unseen, 


For there was lightning in my blood, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

My own Rosaleen ! 

O there was lightning in my blood, 

Red lightning lightened thro' my blood, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

All day long, in unrest, 

To and fro, do I move. 

The very soul within my breast 

Is wasted for you, love ! 

The heart in my bosom faints 

To think of you, my queen, 

My life of life, my saint of saints, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

My own Rosaleen ! 

To hear your sweet and sad complaints, 

My life, my love, my saint of saints, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

Woe and pain, pain and woe, 

Are my lot, night and noon, 

To see your bright face clouded so, 

Like to the mournful moon. 

But yet will I rear your throne 

Again in golden sheen ; 

'Tis you shall reign, shall reign alone, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

My own Rosaleen ! 

'Tis you shall have the golden throne, 

'Tis you shall reign, and reign alone, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 


Over dews, over sands, 

Will I fly for your weal : 

Your holy delicate white hands 

Shall girdle me with steel. 

At home in your emerald bowers, 

From morning's dawn till e'en, 

You'll pray for me, my flower of flowers, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

My fond Rosaleen ! 

You'll think of me thro' daylight hours, 

My virgin flower, my flower of flowers, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

I could scale the blue air, 

I could plough the high hills, 

O I could kneel all night in prayer, 

To heal your many ills ! 

And one beamy smile from you 

Would float like light between 

My toils and me, my own, my true, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

My fond Rosaleen ! 

Would give me life and soul anew, 

A second life, a soul anew, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

O the Erne shall run red 

With redundance of blood, 

The earth shall rock beneath our tread, 

And flames wrap hill and wood, 

And gun-peal and slogan-cry 

Wake many a glen serene, 


Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 

My own Rosaleen ! 

The Judgment Hour must first be nigh, 

Ere you can fade, ere you can die, 

My Dark Rosaleen ! 



Donnchad Ruadh MacNamara, about 1730. 

TAKE my heart's blessing over to dear Eire's strand 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 
To the Remnant that love her our Forefathers' land ! 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

How sweet sing the birds, o'er mount there and vale, 
Like soft sounding chords, that lament for the Gael, 
And I, o'er the surge, far, far away must wail 

The Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

How fair are the flow'rs on the dear daring peaks, 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 
Far o'er foreign bowers I love her barest reeks, 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

Triumphant her trees, that rise on ev'ry height, 
Bloom-kissed, the breeze comes odorous and bright, 
The love of my heart ! O my very soul's delight ! 
The Fair Hills of Eire O 1 

Still numerous and noble her sons who survive, 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 
The true hearts in trouble, the strong hands to strive 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 
Ah, 'tis this makes my grief, my wounding and my woe, 


To think that each chief is now a vassal low, 
And my Country divided amongst the Foreign Foe 
The Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

In purple they gleam, like our High Kings of yore, 

The Fair Hills of Eire O ! 
With honey and cream are her plains flowing o'er, 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

Once more I will come, or my very life shall fail, 
To the heart-haunted home of the ever-faithful Gael, 
Than King's boon more welcome the swift swelling sail 

For the Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

The dewdrops sparkle, like diamonds on the corn, 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 
Where green boughs darkle the bright apples burn 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

Behold, in the valley, cress and berries bland, 
Where streams love to dally, in that Wondrous Land, 
Where the great River-voices roll in music grand 

Round the Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

O, 'tis welcoming, wide-hearted, that dear land of love ! 

Fair Hills of Eire O ! 
New life unto the martyred is the pure breeze above 

The Fair Hills of Eire O ! 

More sweet than tune flowing o'er the chords of gold 
Comes the kine's soft lowing from the mountain fold, 
O, the Splendour of the Sunshine on them all, Young and 

'Mid the Fair Hills of Eire O ! 



A Brigade Ballad 

Sir Charles Gavan Duffy says that the date of this ballad is not 
positively known, but it appears to be early in the eighteenth 
century, when the flower of the Catholic youth of Ireland were 
drawn away to recruit the ranks of the Irish Brigade abroad. It 
is accompanied by an air of deep sentiment and touching sim- 
plicity. Ballad Poetry of Ireland. 

I WOULD I were on yonder hill, 

'Tis there I'd sit and cry my fill, 

And every tear would turn a mill, 

Is go d-teidh tu, a mhurnin, slan ! 

Siubhail, siubhail, siubhail, a ruin ! 
Siubhail go socair, agus siubhail go ciuin, 
Siubhail go d-ti an doras agus eulaigh Horn, 
Is go d-teidh tu, a mhurnin, slan I l 

I'll sell my rock, I'll sell my reel, 
I'll sell my only spinning-wheel, 
To buy for my love a sword of steel, 
Is go d-teidh tu, a mhurnin, slan ! 

Siubhail, siubhail, siubhail a ruin ! &c. 

Dr. Sigerson renders the chorus in English verse, as follows : 
" Come, come, come, O Love 1 
Quickly come to me, softly move ; 
Come to the door, and away we'll flee, 
And safe for aye may my darling be ! " 


I'll dye my petticoats, I'll dye them red, 
And round the world I'll beg my bread, 
Until my parents shall wish me dead, 
Is go d-Uidh tu, a mhurnin, slan ! 

Siubhail, siubhail, siubhail, a ruin f &c. 

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain, 
I wish I had my heart again, 
And vainly think I'd not complain, 
Is go d-teidh tu, a mhurnin, slan ! 

Siubhail, siubhail, siubhail, a ruin ! &c. 

But now my love has gone to France, 

To try his fortune to advance ; 

If he e'er come back, 'tis but a chance, 

Is go d-teidh tu, a mhurnin, slan ! 

Siubhail, siubhail, siubhail, a ruin ! 
Siubhail go socair, agus siubhail go ciuin, 
Siubhail go d-ti an dor as agus culaigh Horn, 
Is go d-teidh tu, a mhurnin, ilan ! 


Dermot O'Curnan, born 1740. 

I AM desolate, 

Bereft by bitter fate ; 
No cure beneath the skies can save me, 

No cure on sea or strand, 

Nor in any human hand 
But hers, this paining wound who gave me. 

I know not night from day, 

Nor thrush from cuckoo gray, 
Nor cloud from the sun that shines above thce 

Nor freezing cold from heat, 

Nor friend if friend I meet 
I but know heart's love ! I love thee. 

Love that my Life began, 

Love, that will close life's span, 
Love that grows ever by love-giving : 

Love, from the first to last, 

Love, till all life be passed, 
Love that loves on after living ! 

This love I gave to thee, 
For pain love has given me, 



Love that can fail or falter never 

But, spite of earth above, 

Guards thee, my Flower of love, 
Thou marvel-maid of life for ever. 

Bear all things evidence, 

Thou art my very sense, 
My past, my present, and my morrow ! 

All else on earth is crossed, 

All in the world is lost 
Lost all but the great love-gift of sorrow. 

My life not life, but death ; 

My voice not voice a breath ; 
No sleep, no quiet thinking ever 

On thy fair phantom face, 

Queen eyes and royal grace, 
Lost loveliness that leaves me never. 

I pray thee grant but this 

From thy dear mouth one kiss, 
That the pang of death-despair pass over : 

Or bid make ready nigh 

The place where I shall lie, 
For aye, thy leal and silent lover. 



SONS of noble Erinn, 

I've tidings of high 

To brighten now your 

faces pale and wan : 
Then hearken, gather 


In Gaelic ringing clearer, 
We'll pledge them in a 

cruiskeen Ian, Ian, Ian, 
We'll pledge them in a 

cruiskeen Ian ! 
Olfameed an cruiskeen, 
Slainte gal mo vuir- 

neen ! 1 
In motion, over ocean, slan, slan, slan ! 

In exile dark and dreary, 
Wandering far and weary, 

With friends that never failed, I have gone, 

1 .. " Let us drink the cruiskeen (' little jug ') ; fair health to 
my darling I " 


The trusted and true-hearted, 
Would God we'd never parted, 

Our brothers, boys, a cruiskeen Ian, Ian, Ian ! 

Our heroes in a cruiskeen Ian. 

Heav'n speed them over ocean, 
With breeze of rapid motion, 

The ships that King Charles sails upon ; 
With troops the frank and fearless, 
To win our Freedom peerless, 

Our Freedom, boys, a cruiskeen Ian, Ian, Ian ! 

Our Freedom, in a cruiskeen Ian ! 

Young men who now are sharing 
The toast we raise to Erinn, 

With hope that the King is coming on, 
Grasp your guns and lances 
For swift his host advances, 

We'll toast them in a cruiskeen Ian, Ian, Ian ! 

We'll toast them in a cruiskeen Ian ! 

The tribe who would destroy all 
Our rightful princes royal 

Shall hence end their rule and begone ; 
The Gael shall live in gladness, 
And banished be all sadness. 

To that time, then, a cruiskeen Ian, Ian, Ian ! 
That time, boys, a cruiskeen Ian ! 
Olfameed an cruiskeen, 
Slainte gal mo vuirneen, 
In motion, over ocean, slan, slan, slan ! 



The Outlaw's Song 

" WHO is that without 

With voice like a sword, 
That batters my bolted door ? " 

" I am Eamonn an Chnuic, 

Cold, weary, and wet 
From long walking mountains and glens." 

" O dear and bright love, 

What would I do for you 
But cover you with a skirt of my dress. 

For shots full thick 

Are raining on you, 
And together we may be slaughtered ! " 

" Long am I out 

Under snow, under frost, 
Without comradeship with any ; 

My team unyoked, 

My fallow unsown, 
And they lost to me entirely ; 

Friend I have none 

(I am heavy for that) 


That would harbour me late or early ; 

And so I must go 

East over the sea, 
Since 'tis there I have no kindred ! " 



" O DRUIMIN donn dilish, 1 
True Flower of the Kine, 
Say, where art thou hiding, 
Sad Mother of mine ? " 
" I lurk in the wild wood, 
No human ear hears 
(Save my brave lads around me) 
My fast-falling tears. 

" Gone my broad lands and homesteads, 

My music and wine, 

No chieftains attend me 

No hostings are mine. 

Stale bread and cold water 

The whole of my hoard, 

While the warm wine flows freely 

Round the enemy's board." 

" Could we utter our minds 
To those smart English rogues, 

i A poetic name for Ireland; druimfhionn donn dlleas, lit. 
the beloved white-backed dun cow," 


We would beat them as soundly 

As we beat our old brogues ! 

We would whip them through thorns 

On a damp, foggy day, 

O'er the cliffs, my Donn dilish, 

We would chase them away ' " 


O you remember that night 

When you were at the window, 
With neither hat nor gloves 
Nor coat to shelter you ? 
I reached out my hand to you, 
And you ardently grasped it, 
I remained to converse with you 
Until the lark began to sing. 

Do you remember that night 
That you and I were 
At the foot of the rowan-tree, 
And the night drifting snow ? 
Your head on my breast, 
And your pipe sweetly playing ? 
Little thought I that night 
That our love ties would loosen ! 

Beloved of my inmost heart, 
Come some night, and soon, 
When my people are at rest, 
That we may talk together. 
My arms shall encircle you 
While I relate my sad tale, 


That your soft, pleasant converse 
Hath deprived me of heaven. 

The fire is unraked, 
The light unextinguished, 
The key under the door, 
Do you softly draw it. 
My mother is asleep, 
But I am wide awake ; 
My fortune in my hand, 
I am ready to go with you. 

Written down by O'Citrry for Dr. George Petrlt. 


Composed by an emigrant named MacAmbrois. 

OH ! were I again on my native bay, 
By the curving hills that are far away, 
I scarcely would wander for half a day 
From the Cuckoo's Glen of a Sunday ! 

For, och, och, Eire, O ! 

Lone is the exile from Eire, O ! 

'Tis my heart that is heavy and weary ! 

many a Christmas in Ireland, 

1 would race with the boys on the pleasant strand, 
With my hurling-stick in my baby hand, 

And but little sense to guide me ! 
And, och, och, Eire, O ! 
Sad is the exile from Eire, O ! 
'Tis my heart that is heavy and weary ! 

Lonely and drear is this foreign plain, 
Where I hear but my own voice back again, 
No call of the corncrake, cuckoo, or crane, 
Now awakens me on a Sunday 1 

Then, och, och, Eire, O ! 

Lost is the exile from Eire, O ! 

'Tis my heart that is heavy and weary ! 


O, had I a boat and a single oar, 
With the help of God I'd reach Erin's shore, 
Nay, the very tide might drift me o'er, 
To die at home in Erin ! 

Now, och, och, Eire, O ! 

Would I were back in Eire, O ! 

'Tis my heart that is heavy and weary ! 


Or the lamentation of O'Donoghue of Afadown (" Roaring 
Water "), in the west of Co. Cork, for his three sons and 
his son-in-law, who were drowned. 

O LOUDLY wailed the winter wind, the driving sleet fell 

The ocean billow wildly heaved beneath the bitter blast ; 

My three fair sons, ere break of day, to fish had left the 

The tempest came forth in its wrath they ne'er re- 
turned more. 

Cormac, 'neath whose unerring aim the wild duck fell 

in flight, 
The plover of the lonesome hills, the curlew swift as 

light ! 
My firstborn child ! the flower of youth ! the dearest 

and the best ! 
O would that thou wert spared to me, though I had 

lost the rest ! 

And thou, my handsome Felix ! in whose eye so dark 

and bright 
Theisoul of courage and of wit looked forth in laughing 




And Daniel, too, my fair-haired boy, the gentle and the 

All, all my stately sons were 'whelmed beneath the 

foaming wave. 

Upon the shore, in wild despair, your aged father stood, 
And gazed upon his Daniel's corse, too late snatched from 

the flood ! 

I saw him pale and lifeless lie, no more to see the light 
And cold, and dumb, and motionless, my heart grew at 

the sight ! 

My children, my loved children ! do you view my bitter 

grief ? 
Look down upon your poor old sire, whose woe knows 

no relief ! 
The sunshine of mine eyes is gone, the comfort of my 

heart ; 
My life of life, my soul of soul, I've seen from earth 

depart ! 

What am I now ? an aged man, to earth by sorrow 


I weep within a stranger's home ; lone, even in a crowd ; 
There is no sorrow like to mine, no grief like mine 

My once blithe Christmas is weighed down with anguish 

and with tears. 

My sons ! my sons ! abandoned to the fury of the waves ! 
Would I could reach the two who lie in ocean's darksome 


'Twould bring some comfort to my heart in earth, to 

see them laid, 
And hear in Afiadown the wild lamentings for them 


O would that like the gay " Wild Geese " my sons had 

left this land, 

From their poor father in his age, to seek a foreign strand ; 
Then might I hope the Lord of Heaven in mercy would 

My brave and good and stately sons in time to me once 

more ! 



BARK that bare me through foam and squall, 
You in the storm are my castle wall : 
Though the sea should redden from bottom to top, 
From tiller to mast she takes no drop ; 
On the tide-top, the tide-top, 

Wherry aroon, my land and store ! 
On the tide-top, the tide-top, 
She is the boat can sail go leor. 

She dresses herself, and goes gliding on, 
Like a dame in her robes of the Indian lawn ; 
For God has bless'd her, gunnel and whale, 
And oh ! if you saw her stretch out to the gale, 
On the tide-top, the tide-top, &c. 

Whillan, ahoy ! old heart of stone, 
Stooping so black o'er the beach alone, 
Answer me well on the bursting brine 
Saw you ever a bark like mine ? 

On the tide-top, the tide-top, &c. 

Says Whillan " Since first I was made of stone, 
I have looked abroad o'er the beach alone 


But till to-day, on the bursting brine, 
Saw I never a bark like thine," 

On the tide-top, the tide-top, &c. 

" God of the air ! " the seamen shout, 
When they see us tossing the brine about : 
" Give us the shelter of strand or rock, 
Or through and through us she goes with a shock ! " 
On the tide-top, the tide-top, 

Wherry aroon, my land and store ! 
On the tide-top, the tide-top, 
She is the boat can sail go leor ! 



Shot at Carraganime, Co. Cork, May 4, 1773 
By Dark Eileen, his wife. 


L.Y closest and dearest ! 

From the first day I saw 

From the top of the 

My eyes gave heed to you, 
My heart gave affection 

to you, 
I fled from my friends 

with you, 
Far from my home with 

No lasting sorrow this to 

Thou didst bring me to fair chambers, 
Rooms you had adorned for me ; 


Ovens were reddened for me, 
Fresh trout were caught for me, 
Roast flesh was carved for me 
From beef that was felled for me ; 
On beds of down I lay 
Till the coming of the milking-time, 
Or so long as was pleasing to me. 

Rider of the white palm ! 
With the silver-hiked sword ! 
Well your beaver hat became you 
With its band of graceful gold ; 
Your suit of solid homespun yarn 
Wrapped close around your form ; 
Slender shoes of foreign fashion, 
And a pin of brightest silver 
Fastened in your shirt. 
As you rode in stately wise 
On your slender steed, white-faced, 
After coming over seas, 
Even the Saxons bowed before you 
Bowed down to the very ground ; 
Not because they loved you well 
But from deadly hate ; 
For it was by them you fell, 
Darling of my soul. 

My friend and my little calf ! 
Offspring of the Lords of Antrim. 


And the chiefs of Immokely ! 

Never had I thought you dead, 

Until there came to me your mare 

Her bridle dragged beside her to the ground ; 

Upon her brow your heart-blood splashed, 

Even to the carven saddle flowing down 

Where you were wont to sit or stand. 

I did not stay to cleanse it 

I gave a quick leap with my hands 

Upon the wooden stretcher of the bed ; 

A second leap was to the gate, 

And the third leap upon thy mare. 

In haste I clapped my hands together, 

I followed on your tracks 

As well as I could, 

Till I found you laid before me dead 

At the foot of a lowly bush of furze ; 

Without pope, without bishop, 

Without cleric or priest 

To read a psalm for thee ; 

But only an old bent wasted crone 

Who flung over thee the corner of her cloak. 

My dear and beloved one ! 

When it will come to me to reach our home, 

Little Conor, of our love, 

And Fiac, his toddling baby-brother, 


Will be asking of me quickly 
Where I left their dearest father ? 
I shall answer them with sorrow 
That I left him in Kill Martyr ; 
They will call upon their father ; 
He will not be there to answer. 

My love and my chosen one ! 

When you were going forward from the gate, 

You turned quickly back again ! 

You kissed your two children, 

You threw a kiss to me. 

You said, " Eileen, arise now, be stirring, 

And set your house in order, 

Be swiftly moving. 

I am leaving our home, 

It is likely that I may not come again." 

I took it only for a jest 

You used often to be jesting thus before. 

My friend and my heart's love ! 

Arise up, my Art, 

Leap on thy steed, 

Arise out to Macroom 

And to Inchegeela after that ; 

A bottle of wine in thy grasp, 

As was ever in the time of thy ancestors. 

Arise up, my Art, 

Rider of the shining sword ; 


Put on your garments, 

Your fair noble clothes ; 

Don your black beaver, 

Draw on your gloves ; 

See, here hangs your whip, 

Your good mare waits without ; 

Strike eastward on the narrow road, 

For the bushes will bare themselves before you, 

For the streams will narrow on your path, 

For men and women will bow themselves before you 

If their own good manners are upon them yet, 

But I am much a-feared they are not now. 

Destruction to you and woe, 

O Morris, hideous the treachery 

That took from me the man of the house, 

The father of my babes ; 

Two of them running about the house, 

The third beneath my breast, 

It is likely that I shall not give it birth. 

My long wound, my bitter sorrow, 

That I was not beside thee 

When the shot was fired ; 

That I might have got it in my soft body 

Or in the skirt of my gown ; 

Till I would give you freedom to escape, 

O Rider of the grey eye, 

Because it is you would best have followed after them. 


My dear and my heart's love ! 

Terrible to me the way I see thee, 

To be putting our hero, 

Our rider so true of heart, 

In a little cap in a coffin ! 

Thou who used to be fishing along the streams, 

Thou who didst drink within wide halls 

Among the gentle women white of breast ; 

It is my thousand afflictions 

That I have lost your companionship ! 

My love and my darling, 

Could my shouts but reach thee 

West in mighty Derrynane, 

And in Carhen of the yellow apples after that ; 

Many a light-hearted young horseman, 

And woman with white spotless kerchief 

Would swiftly be with us here, 

To wail above thy head 

Art O'Leary of the joyous laugh ! 

O women of the soft wet eyes, 

Stay now your weeping, 

Till Art O'Leary drinks his drink 

Before his going back to school ; 

Not to learn reading or music does he go there now, 

But to carry clay and stones. 

My love and my secret thou. 
Thy corn-stacks are piled, 


And thy golden kine are milking, 

But it is upon my own heart is the grief ! 

There is no healing in the Province of Munster, 

Nor in the Island smithy of the Fians, 

Till Art O'Leary will come back to me ; 

But all as if it were a lock upon a trunk 

And the key of it gone straying ; 

Or till rust will come upon the screw. 

My friend and my best one ! 

Art O'Leary, son of Conor, 

Son of Cadach, son of Lewis, 

Eastward from wet wooded glens, 

Westward from the slender hill 

Where the rowan-berries grow, 

And the yellow nuts are ripe upon the branches 

Apples trailing, as it was in my day. 

Little wonder to myself 

If fires were lighted in O'Leary's country, 

And at the mouth of Ballingeary, 

Or at holy Gougane Barra of the cells, 

After the rider of the smooth grip, 

After the huntsman unwearied 

When, heavy breathing with the chase, 

Even thy lithe deerhounds lagged behind. 

O horseman of the enticing eyes, 

What happened thee last night ? 

For I myself thought 

That the whole world could not kill you 

When I bought for you that shirt of mail. 


My friend and my darling ! 

A cloudy vision through the darkness 

Came to me last night, 

At Cork lately 

And I alone upon my bed ! 

I saw the wooded glen withered, 

I saw our lime-washed court fallen ; 

No sound of speech came from thy hunting-dogs 

Nor sound of singing from the birds 

When you were found fallen 

On the side of the hill without ; 

When you were found in the clay, 

Art O'Leary ; 

With your drop of blood oozing out 

Through the breast of your shirt. 

It is known to Jesus Christ, 

I will put no cap upon my head, 

Nor body-linen on my side, 

Nor shoes upon my feet, 

Nor gear throughout the house ; 

Even on the brown mare will be no bridle, 

But I shall spend all in taking the law. 

I will go across the seas 

To speak with the king ; 

But if they will give no heed to me, 

It is I that will come back again 

To seek the villain of the black blood 


Who cut off my treasure from me. 
O Morrison, who killed my hero, 
Was there not one man in Erin 
Would put a bullet through you ? 

The affection of this heart to you. 

O white women of the mill, 

For the edged poetry that you have shed 

Over the horseman of the brown mare. 

It is I who am the lonely one 

In Inse Carriganane. 


Brian Merriman, died in Limerick, 1808. 

FULL often I strolled by the brink of the river, 
On the greensward soaked by the heavy dew, 

Skirting the woods in the bays of the mountains, 
No care in my heart, while the day was new. 

My soul would light up when I saw Loch Greine 
Lie blue on the breast of the landscape green, 

The heaven's expanse o'er the ring of the mountains, 
Peak beckoning to peak o'er the ridges between. 

Ah, well might the weakling, the sport of misfortune, 
Spent of his vigour, embittered with pain, 

His birthright wasted, his pockets empty, 
Gaze long on that scene and take heart again 

On its mistless bosom the wild duck settled, 
Two followed by two rode the stately swan, 

In wanton gladness the perch leaped upward, 
Ruddy their scales when the bright sun shone ! 


Peaceful the scene, as the azure waters 
In ripples swept circling in to the shore ; 

Strange is its change in the winter quarter, 
Its thunderous crash, its hollow roar. 

Bright birds in the trees make a melody mirthful, 
The doe bounds down, the hunt flashes by, 

I hear the shrill horns, they are close upon me ! 
Brave Reynard in front, and the hounds in full cry ! 



Conor O'Riordan, about 1750. 

UEEN of all Queens, oh ! Wonder of the 

loveliness of women, 
Heart which hath held in check for us 

the righteous wrath of God ; 
Strong Staff of Light, and Fosterer of the 

Bright Child of heaven, 
Pray thou for us as we now pray that we 

may be forgiven. 

She of the King of Stars beloved, stainless, 

Christ chose as His Mother-nurse, to Him, 
the stainless Child ; 

Within her breast, as in a nest, the Para- 
clete reposes, 

Lily among fairest flowers, Rose amid red 

She, the bright unsheathed sword to guard 

our souls in anguish, 
She, the flawless Umber-branch, to cover 

those that languish ; 


Where her healing mantle flows, may I find my hiding, 
'Neath the fringes of her robe constantly abiding. 

Hostile camps upon the plain, sharp swords clashed 

Stricken fleets across the main stressed by wintry 

weather ; 

Weary sickness on my heart, sinful thoughts alluring, 
All the fever of my soul clings to her for curing. 

She the Maid the careful king of the wide wet world 


In her speech forgiveness lies, no suppliant she refuses ; 
White Star of our troubled sea, on thy name I'm crying, 
That Christ may draw in His spread net the living and 

the dying. 


HAIL to thee, thou holy Babe, 

In the manger now so poor, 
Yet so rich Thou art, I ween, 

High within the highest door. 

Little Babe who art so great, 

Child so young who art so old, 
In the manger small His room 

Whom not heaven itself could hold. 

Motherless, with mother here, 

Fatherless, a tiny span, 
Ever God in heaven's height, 

First to-night becoming man. 

Father not more old than thou ? 

Mother younger, can it be ! 
Older, younger is the Son, 

Younger, older, she than He. 



O MARY of Graces 

And Mother of God, 
May I tread in the paths 

That the righteous have trod. 

And mayest thou save me 

From evil's control, 
And mayest thou save me 

In body and soul. 

And mayest thou save me 

By land and by sea, 

And mayest thou save me 

From tortures to be. 

May the guard of the angels 

Above me abide, 
May God be before me 

And God at my side. 



O TRINITY of the glorious saints, I marvel 

that the White Prince of the Kingdom did descend 

as a child into the pure womb of Mary. 

Nine months the Master of the Angels stayed 

in humility and in great lowliness with her, 

lighting a furnace of love within her. 

He came down to earth, 

the White Lamb, our loosener from sin. 

O Mother, who found not a dwelling in the city, 

till thou didst come to the stable to seek a bed ; 

there wast thou lying in poverty, 

without wine, without flesh, or one taste in thy mouth ; 

on the mean barley chaff in the cattle-shed, 

she brought forth the only Son of God of the Apostles. 

Cold and misery you complained not of as your portion, 

and was it not the holy sight in the manger of the ass ? 


HAIL to thee, O Mary, 

Full of holy graces, 
Thou our loving Mother 

Whom the child embraces. 
Hail to thee, O Mary, 

Where are our alarms ? 
Is the little Child not blessed, 

Lying in thine arms ? 


A LOW prayer, a high prayer, I send through space. 
Arrange them Thyself, O Thou King of Grace. 


O MARY, O blessed Mother, 

praise from my heart I sing, 

it is thou didst bear our Saviour, 

our Lord and our King. 

In the stable of Bethlehem's city, 

at the hour of middle-night, 

was not sweet the brave song of the angels 

for the King who was born that night ? 

O King of Kings, a thousand glories to Thee, 

it is Thou who didst bear the cross 

out to Calvary's hill, 

and Thou wounded in every spot. 

We will take courage from the pouring of the blood, 

and we will follow our Saviour, 

our Lord and our King, 

to the city of Glory, 

along with the throng, 

Saints, Apostles, and Angels, 

to the dwelling of God's Son. 


I REST with Thee, O Jesus, 

And do Thou rest with me. 
The oil of Christ on my poor soul, 
The creed of the Twelve to make me whole, 

Above my head I see. 
O Father, who created me, 
O Son, who purchased me, 
O Spirit Blest, who blessest me, 

Rest ye with me. 


Great Giver of the open hand, 
We stand to thank Thee for our meat, 
A hundred praises, Christ, 'tis meet, 
For all we drink, for all we eat. 



THREE folds of the cloth, yet one only napkin is there, 
Three joints in the finger, but still only one finger fair ; 
Three leaves of the shamrock, yet no more than one 

shamrock to wear. 

Frost, snow-flakes and ice, all in water their origin share, 
Three Persons in God ; to one God alone we make 



O KING of the Wounds ! who found death on the top 

of the tree, 
By the hand of the blind was Thy heart's blood riven 

from Thee ; 
By the blood from Thy wounds flowing down in a pool 

on the field, 
O bear us to Paradise, Thou, 'neath the shade of Thy 



THE cross of the angels 

On the bed where I lie ; 
The robe of the kingdom, 

May it come very nigh ; 
O Glorious Virgin, 

My thousand loves thou, 
My helpful supporter, 

My affection thou. 
My woman-physician, 
111 or well, thou, 
My firm faithful helper 
In the Kingdom of graces, thou. 
O gentle Jesus, 
O Jesus, most gentle, 
O Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us ; 
O glorious Virgin, pray thou also for us ; 
O Mother of God, O Bright Star of Knowledge, 
O Queen of Paradise, watch thou and ward us, 
The light of glory obtain from thy Child for us, 
A sight of thy house, by thy great power's might, for us 
The Light of all lights, and a sight of the Trinity, 
And the grace of long patience in days of adversity. 


I LIE down with God, and may God lie down with me 

The right hand of God under my head, 

The two hands of Mary round about me, 

The cross of the nine white angels, 

From the back of my head 

To the sole of my feet. 

May I not lie with evil, 

And may evil not lie with me. 

Anna, mother of Mary, 

Mary, mother of Christ, 

Elizabeth, mother of John Baptist, 

I myself beseech these three 

To keep the couch free from sickness. 

The tree on which Christ suffered 

Be between me and the heavy-lying (nightmare), 

And any other thing that seeks my harm. 

With the will of God and the aid of the glorious Virgin. 


On going to sleep, think that it is the sleep of death, 
and that you may be summoned to the Day of the 
Mountain (i.e. the Day of Judgment), and say : 

I MYSELF lie down with God, 

May God lie down with me ! 

The protection of God above my head, 

And the cross of the angels beneath my body. 

Where wilt thou lie down to-night f 

Between Mary and her Son, 

Between Brigit and her mantle, 

Between Columcille and his shield, 

Between God and His right hand. 

Where wilt thou arise on the morrow ? 

I will arise with Patrick. 

Who are they in front of us ? 

Two hundred angels. 

Who are they behind us ? 

As many again of the people of God. 

Shut the forts of hell, 

And open the gates of the kingdom of God. 

Let the mighty radiance out, 

And lead the sorrowful soul within. 

O God, have mercy upon us ! 

O Son of the Virgin, may our souls be found by thee ! 

Glory to the Father, glory to the Son, glory to the Holy 
Ghost of power ; as it was in the beginning, so it is now, 
and shall be for ages of ages. Glory to thee, O Lord. 


WELCOME to thee, O White Paternoster ! 

And welcome to thyself ! 

Where didst thou sleep last night ? 

As He slept, the King of Light. 

Where wilt thou sleep again ? 

As the poor will sleep, in want and pain. 

And the night after that, where wilt thou sleep f 

At the feet of St. Patrick my rest shall be deep. 

Who are they out before thee I see f 

Twelve fair angels defending me. 

Who are they behind thee west ? 

The twelve apostles ever blest. 

What may that at thy right hand be ? 

Holy water that Mary gave me, 

That it might lead me, with guidance wise, 

From this door to the door of Paradise. 

The key of Paradise, that I need ; 
The vat of gold stands there, indeed, 
With its cover above it, golden-bright ; 
Yonder where candles blaze alight ; 
Candles that cannot be removed 
Till the full of my two hands shall be 
The flowing fulness of stream and sea. 


Men of the World who are shedding tears, 

1 put Mary with her Son between you and your fears, 

Brigit with her mantle, 
Michael with his shield, 

And the two long white hands of God from behind 
folding us all, 

Between you and each grief 
All the years, 

From this night till a year from to-night, 
And this night itself, with God. 


MAY the will of God be done by us, 
M ay the death of the saints be won by us, 
And the light of the kingdom begun in us ; 
May Jesus, the Child, be beside my bed, 
May the Lamb of mercy uplift my head, 
May the Virgin her heavenly brightness shed, 
And Michael be steward of my soul ! 


" Are you asleep, Mother f " 

" I am not, indeed, my son." 

" How is that, Mother ? " 

" Because of a vision I have of thee." 

" What vision is that, Mother ? " 

" There came a slim dark man on a slender blacl< 

A sharp lance in his left hand, 

Which pierced thy right side, 

Letting thy sacred blood pour down upon thee." 
" True is that vision, Mother." 


THE safe-guarding of my soul be Thine, 

O Father Ever-mighty ; 

O Blessed Mary, 

Nurse of the King of Glory ; 

Michael the angel, 

Their peaceful messenger, 

The twelve apostles, and 

The Lord of Mercy, 

So that they may be 

Safe-guarding my soul 

Unto the city of Glory. 


I LIE on this bed 

As I lie in the tomb. 

Firmly, O Jesus, 

I make my confession to Thee. 

Through deeds of my flesh, 

Through thoughts of my heart, 

Through sight of my eyes, 


Through hearing of my ears, 
Through speech of my lips, 
Through movements of my feet, 
Through everything spoken 
Which was not true ; 
Through each thing promised 
And not fulfilled ; 

Each thing that I did against Thy law, 
Or against Thy sacred will, 
I ask forgiveness from Thee, 
O King of Glory. 


AIR Jesu, guide Thy straying sheep 
Along the fragrant valleys, 
And where the meadow-grass grows 

Guard from the wild 

wolfs sallies ; 
No sickness unto death 

be theirs, 

But sickness unto heal- 

Our sickness be for love to Thee, 
O King of all the living. 


O SAVIOUR, who lightest the sun's blessed ray, 
Remit my offences, this day and alway, 
Above my deserving, or all I could pay ; 
Then with joy I receive my Redeemer to-day. 


MAY the sweet name of Jesus 

Be lovingly graven 

In my heart's inmost haven. 

O Mary, Blest Mother, 
Be Jesus my Brother, 
And I Jesu's lover. 

A binding of love 
That no distance can sever, 
Be between us for ever. 
Yea, O my Saviour, 
For ever and ever. 


O BLESSED Jesus, and O Nurse of the fair white Lamb, 
In the dread hour of death it is under your shelter I am ; 
Saints and angels about me in every time, in all places, 
Leading my soul to the home of the King of the Graces. 


O JESUS, and Mary who fostered the King of Grace, 
Be ye the friends of my soul, in every time and place, 
Cold as a stone lies my soul, unheeding the things above, 
Smooth Thou my path in Thy time, Lord of my love. 


O JESU, in the morning, I cry and call on Thee, 
Blessed only Son who hast purchased us dearly ; 
Safeguard my soul under the protection of Thy holy 

May sin and loss be kept from me through the course of 

this day. 


LET us preserve this fire, as Christ preserves all, 
Christ at the top of this house and Brigit in the midst ; 
The twelve apostles of greatest power in the heavens 
Guarding and preserving this house till day. 

1 It is the custom in the West of Ireland and in the Hebrides to 
place a piece of peat on the fire before going to bed, to preserve 
the ' ' seed " of the fire till morning ; this act is accompanied with 
the recital of some fragment of prayer or verse. There are many 
of these " covering" or " sparing " ranns in existence. 


THE man who stands stiff in a short-lived world 
He knows not how long is the lease of his clod. 

With Death he must reckon, when Death shall beckon 
The soul must knock at the door of God. 

Then Christ shall come and shall ask of the soul, 
" O Soul, say how hast thou spent thy day ? 

I gave to thee power and self-control, 
Thou fool, hast thou given thyself away ? " 

(The Sinner answers) 

" I thought I had time before me still, 
And space to return beneath Thy shield, 

But Death came first, and against my will, 
Ere I knew it, to Death I was forced to yield." 

To the Trinity's presence the soul must mount, 
To the judgment it comes, and its sins it bears, 

And nought that it pleads for itself shall count 
Save fasting, and giving of alms, and prayers. 

If you gave but a glass of the water cold 
(The simplest drink on the green earth's sod), 


Your reward is before you, a thousand-fold, 
If the thing has been done for the sake of God. 

Three things there be, the reward of man 
For offending God 'tis a risk to run 

Misfortune's fall, and a shortened span, 
And the pains of hell when all is done. 



THREE things are of the Evil One 
An evil eye, 
An evil tongue, 
An evil mind ; 

Three things are of God, and these three are what Mary 
told to her Son, for she heard them in heaven 
The merciful word, 
The singing word, 
And the good word. 

May the power of these three holy things be on all the 
men and women of Erin for evermore. 



" GOD save you, my three brothers, God save you ! And 
how far have ye to go, my three brothers ? " 

" To the Mount of Olivet, to bring back gold for a 
cup to hold the tears of Christ." 

" Go then, gather the gold, and may the tears of Christ 
fall on it, and thou wilt be cured both body and soul." 



A CHARM set by Mary for her Son, before the fair man 
and the turbulent woman laid Him in the grave. 
The charm of Michael with the shield, 
Of the palm-branch of Christ, 
Of Brigit with her veil. 

The charm which God set for Himself when the 
divinity within Him was darkened. 

A charm to be said by the cross when the night is 
black and the soul is heavy with sorrow. 

A charm to be said at sunrise, with the hands on 
the breast, when the eyes are red with weeping, and the 
madness of grief is strong. A charm that has no words, 
only the silent prayer. 



* O Peter, O Apostle, hast thou seen my bright love ? " 

M'ocbon agus m'ocbon, 6 ! 
" I saw Him even now in the midst of His foemen," 

M'ocbon agus m'ocbon, 6 ! 

" Come hither, two Marys, till ye keen my bright love." 

M'ocbon agus m'ochon, J 
" What have we to keen if we keen not His bones ? " 

Wocbon agus m'ochon, 6 ! 

" Who is that stately man on the tree of the Passion f " 

M'ocbon agus m'ocbon, 6 ! 
" Dost thou not know thy Son, O Mother ? " 

M'ocbon agus m'ocbon, (5 / 

" And is that the little Son I carried nine months ? 

M'ochon agus m'ocbon, ! 
' And is that the little Son that was born in the stable ? 

M'ochon agus m'ochon, O / 

" And is that the little Son that was nursed at Mary's 
breast ? " 

M'ochon agus m'ochon, / 
" Hush, O Mother, and be not sorrowful." 

M'ocbon agus m'ocbon, 6 ! 


" And is that the hammer that struck home nails through 

M'bchon agus m'ochon, (5 ! 
" And is that the spear that went through Thy white side ? 

M'ochon agus m'ochon, 6 ! 

" And is that the crown of thorns that crowned Thy 
beauteous head ? " 

M'bchan agus m'ochon, 6 ! 
" Hush, O Mother, be not sorrowful. 

M'ochon agus m'ochon, O ! 

" Hush, O Mother, and be not sorrowful, 

M'ochon agus m'ochon, 6 ! 

" The women of my keening are yet unborn, little 

M'ochon agus m'ochon, ! 

" O woman, who weepest by this My death, 

M'ochon agus m'bckbn, 6 ! 

" There will be hundreds to-day in the Garden of 
Paradise ! " 

M'ochon agus m'ochon, 6 ! 


Taken down from Mary Clancy of Moycullen, who 
keened it with great horror in her voice, in a low sobbing 



EFORE the sun rose at yesterdawn, 
I met a fair maiden adown the lawn ; 
The berry and snow 
To her cheek gave its glow, 
And her bosom was fair as the sailing 
swan ; 

Then, Pulse of my heart! 
what gloom is thine ? 

Her beautiful voice more 

hearts hath won 
Than Orpheus' lyre of old 
hath done ; 
Her ripe eyes of blue 
Were crystals of dew 
On the grass of the lawn 

before the sun ; 

And, Pulse of my heart ! what gloom is thine ? 



THERE is never a merrier lad in the town or a wilder lad 

on the fells, 
Till I fall to dreaming and thinking of the place where 

my lost love dwells, 
Winter snow on Slieve na m-Ban, and it evermore drifting 

The small blossom of the blackthorn who is my own true 


Were I but down below in a boat I would float out over 

the sea, 
And many and many a line of love I would waft o'er the 

wave to thee ; 
My lasting sorrow, wound of my heart, that we are not 

together found 
In the mountain glens at sunrise when the dew lies on 

the ground. 

I myself leave you my thousand farewells in the townland 

of the trees, 
And in every place I have travelled going up and down 

from the seas ; 
There is many a weary miry road and crooked damp 

Parting me from the cabin of my own Storeen. 


Oh ! Paddy, would you think ill of me if you saw that I 

was crying ? 
And oh ! Paddy, would you think ill of me if you knew 

me to be dying ? 
Oh ! Paddy of the bound black hair, your mouth and 

your words were sweet, 
But I knew not the hundred twists in your heart, nor 

the thousand turns on your feet. 

Deep down in my pocket is lying the ribbon you wound 

in my hair, 
The men of Erin together could not tear it away from 

there ; 

All, all is over between us, you and I have said our say, 
And I'll soon be lying quiet in the cold damp clay. 

He is the foolish man, indeed, who would spring at the 

ditch that is steep, 
If close at his hand lay the fence of furze he could take 

at a single leap ; 
Though the rowan-berry swings high, it is bitterest out 

of the top, 
While thick from the lowliest shrubs the ripe rasps and 

the blackberries drop. 

O Virgin beloved ! I am lost if his face should be now 

turned away ; 
What knowledge have I how to reach his house and his 

kinsfolk this day ? 
My mother bent double with age, and my father long 

laid in the tomb, 
And mad anger on my people towards me, and my love 

fled home. 


Are you going from me for ever, honey mouth, hair of 

If you come not back, avourneen, you leave me blind, 

dumb, and lame ; 
No skiff have I to bring you back, I am broken life and 

The raging ocean rolls between us and I have no strength 

to swim ! 


A Connaught song. 

OH, my fair Pastheen is my heart's delight, 

Her gay heart laughs in her blue eye bright ; 

Like the apple blossom her bosom white, 

And her neck like the swan's, on a March morn bright ! 

Then, Oro, come with me ! come with me ! come 
with me ! 

Oro, come with me ! brown girl, sweet ! 

And oh ! I would go through snow and sleet, 

If you would come with me, brown girl, sweet ! 

Love of my heart, my fair Pastheen 1 

Her cheeks are red as the rose's sheen, 

But my lips have tasted no more, I ween, 

Than the glass I drank to the health of my queen ! 

Then, Oro, come with me ! come with me ! come 
with me ! 

Oro, come with me ! brown girl, sweet ! 

And oh ! I would go through snow and sleet, 

If you would come with me, brown girl, sweet ! 

Were I in the town, where's mirth and glee, 
Or 'twixt two barrels of barley bree, 


With my Pastheen upon my knee, 
'Tis I would drink to her pleasantly ! 

Then, Oro, come with me ! come with me ! come 
with me ! 

Oro, come with me ! brown girl, sweet ! 

And oh ! I would go through snow and sleet, 

If you would come with me, brown girl, sweet ! 

Nine nights I lay in longing and pain 
Betwixt two bushes, beneath the rain, 
Thinking to see you, love, once again ; 
But whistle and call were all in vain ! 

Then, Oro, come with me ! come with me ! come 
with me ! 

Oro, come with me ! brown girl, sweet ! 

And oh ! I would go through snow and sleet, 

If you would come with me, brown girl, sweet ! 

I'll leave my people, both friend and foe ; 
From all the girls in the world I'll go ; 
But from you, sweetheart, oh, never ! oh, no ! 
Till I lie in the coffin, stretch'd cold and low ! 

Then, Oro, come with me ! come with me ! come 
with me ! 

Oro, come with me ! brown girl, sweet ! 

And oh ! I would go through snow and sleet, 

If you would come with me, brown girl, sweet ! 



THE white bloom of the blackthorn, she, 
The small sweet raspberry-blossom, she ; 

More fair the shy, rare glance of her eye, 
Than the wealth of the world to me. 

My heart's pulse, my secret, she, 

The flower of the fragrant apple, she ; 

A summer glow o'er the winter's snow, 
'Twixt Christmas and Easter, she. 


INCE I know 
Hopeless of thy love I go, 
Since from me each dear delight 

takes flight : 

Ere we end 

Ways we might together wend, 
Ere the light from out mine 


Give some sign 

One regretful thought is thine, 

Lest I count my story told, 


For I hold, 

Time may yet some joy unfold, 
Joy such as the lifelong blind 

If entwined 

In the fabric of the mind, 
Dwells the memory of thy tear, 


THE girl I love is comely, straight, and tall ; 

Down her white neck her auburn tresses fall ; 

Her dress is neat, her carriage light and free 

Here's a health to that charming maid, whoe'er she be ! 

The rose's blush but fades beside her cheek ; 

Her eyes are blue, her forehead pale and meek ; 

Her lips, like cherries on a summer tree 

Here's a health to the charming maid, whoe'er she be ! 

When I go to the field no youth can lighter bound, 
And I freely pay when the cheerful jug goes round ; 
The barrel is full ; but its heart we soon shall see 
Come ! here's to that charming maid, whoe'er she be ! 

Had I the wealth that props the Saxon's reign, 
Or the diamond crown that decks the King of Spain, 
I'd yield them all if she kindly smiled on me 
Here's a health to the maid I love, whoe'er she be ! 

Five pounds of gold for each lock of her hair I'd pay, 
And five times five, for my love one hour each day, 
Her voice is more sweet than the thrush on its own green 


Then, my dear, may I drink a fond, deep health to thee ! 


WOULD God I were the tender apple-blossom 
That floats and falls from off the twisted bough, 

To lie and faint within your silken bosom, 
As that does now. 

Or would I were a little burnished apple, 

For you to pluck me, gliding by so cold, 
While sun and shade your robe of lawn will dapple, 

And your hair's spun gold. 

Yea, would to God I were among the roses 
That lean to kiss you as you float between, 

While on the lowest branch a bud uncloses 
To touch you, queen. 

Nay, since you will not love, would I were growing, 

A happy daisy, in the garden path, 
That so your silver foot might press me going, 

Even unto death. 




BRANCH of the sweet and early rose 
That in the purest beauty flows, 

So passing sweet to smell and sight, 
On whom shalt thou bestow delight ? 

Who in the dewy evening walk 

Shall pluck thee from the tender stalk ? 

Whose temples blushing shalt thou twine, 
And who inhale thy breath divine ? 



'Tis a pity I'm not in England, 

Or with one from Erin thither bound, 

Out in the midst of the ocean, 
Where the thousands of ships are drowned. 

From wave to wave of the ocean 

To be guided on with the wind and the rain 
And, O King ! that Thou might'st guide me 

Back to my love again ! 



THE yellow bittern that never broke out 
In a drinking-bout, might well have drunk ; 

His bones are thrown on a naked stone 
Where he lived alone like a hermit monk. 

yellow bittern ! I pity your lot, 

Though they say that a sot like myself is curst 

1 was sober a while, but I'll drink and be wise 

For fear I should die in the end of thirst. 

It's not for the common birds that I'd mourn, 

The blackbird, the corncrake or the crane, 
But for the bittern that's shy and apart 

And drinks in the marsh from the lone bog-drain. 
Oh ! if I had known you were near your death, 

While my breath held out I'd have run to you, 
Till a splash from the Lake of the Son of the Bird 

Your soul would have stirred and waked anew. 

My darling told me to drink no more 

Or my life would be o'er in a little short while ; 

But I told her 'tis drink gives me health and strength, 
And will lengthen my road by many a mile. 


You see how the bird of the long smooth neck, 
Could get his death from the thirst at last 

Come, son of my soul, and drain your cup, 
You'll get no sup when your life is past. 

In a wintering island by Constantine's halls, 

A bittern calls from a wineless place, 
And tells me that hither he cannot come 

Till the summer is here and the sunny days. 
When he crosses the stream there and wings o'er the sea, 

Then a fear ccmes to me he may fail in his flight 
Well, the milk and the ale are drunk every drop, 

And a dram won't stop our thirst this night. 



HAVE you been at Carrack, and saw you my true-love 

there ? 

And saw you her features, all beautiful, bright, and fair ? 
Saw you the most fragrant, flowering, sweet apple-tree ? 
O ! saw you my lov'd one, and pines she in grief like 


I have been at Carrack, and saw thy own true-love there ; 
And saw, too, her features, all beautiful, bright, and 


And saw the most fragrant, flowering, sweet apple-tree 
I saw thy lov'd one she pines not in grief, like thee ! 

Five guineas would price every tress of her golden hair 
Then think what a treasure her pillow at night to share, 
These tresses thick-clustering and curling around her 

O, Ringlet of Fairness ! I'll drink to thy beauty now ! 

When seeking to slumber, my bosom is rent with sighs 
I toss on my pillow till morning's blest beams arise ; 
No aid, bright Beloved ! can reach me save God above, 
For a blood-lake is formed of the light of my eyes with 

273 S 


Until yellow Autumn shall usher the Paschal day, 
And Patrick's gay festival come in its train alway 
Until through my coffin the blossoming boughs shall 

My love on another I'll never in life bestow ! 

Lo ! yonder the maiden illustrious, queen-like, high, 
With long-flowing tresses adown to her sandal-tie 
Swan, fair as the lily, descended of high degree, 
A myriad of welcomes, dear maid of my heart, to thee ! 



(Air: " ClAr bog d<il") 

I'D wed you without herds, without money, or rich array, 
And I'd wed you on a dewy morning at day-dawn grey ; 
My bitter woe it is, love, that we are not far away 
In Cashel town, though the bare deal board were our 
marriage-bed this day. 

Oli, fair maid, remember the green hill side, 
Remember how I hunted about the valleys wide ; 
Time now has worn me ; my locks are turned to grey, 
The year is scarce and I am poor, but send me not, love, 
away ! 

Oh, deem not my birth is of base strain, my girl, 
Oh, deem not my birth* was as the birth of a churl ; 
Marry me, and prove me, and say soon you will, 
That noble blood is written on my right side still ! 

My purse holds no red gold, no coin of the silver white, 
No herds are mine to drive through the long twilight ! 
But the pretty girl that would take me, all bare though I 

be and lone, 
Oh, I'd take her with me kindly to the county Tyrone. 


Oh, my girl, I can see 'tis in trouble you are, 

And, oh, my girl, I see 'tis your people's reproach you 


" I am a girl in trouble for his sake with whom I fly, 
And, oh, may no other maiden know such reproach as I ! " 


HERE'S a colleen fair 

as May, 

For a year and for a day 
I've sought by every way her heart to gain. 
There's no art of tongue or eye 
Fond youths with maidens try 
But I've tried with ceaseless sigh, yet tried in 


If to France or far-off Spain 
She'd cross the watery main, 
To see her face again the sea 

I'd brave. 

And if 'tis heaven's decree 
That mine she may not be 
May the son of Mary me in mercy save ! 

O thou blooming milk-white dove, 

To whom I've given true love, 

Do not ever thus reprove my constancy. 

There are maidens would be mine, 

With wealth in hand and kine, 

If my heart would but incline to turn from thee. 



But a kiss with, welcome bland, 

And a touch of thy dear hand, 

Are all that I demand, would'st thou not spurn ; 

For if not mine, dear girl, 

O Snowy-Breasted Pearl ! 

May I never from the fair with life return ! 



(Bean dubh an Glean na) 

OH, have you seen or have you heard, my treasure of 

bright faces, 
Some dark glen roving, while in gloom I pine here day 

and night ? 
Far from her voice, far from her eyes, my cloud of woe 

My blessing on that glen and her, for aye and aye alight. 

'Tis many's the time they've put in print, to beauty 

doing homage, 
Her figure tall, her eyebrows small, her thin-lipped mouth 

of truth, 
Her snowy hands, as fair and fine as silk on wild bird's 

My bitter sigh to think that I am here, a lonely youth ! 

One little glance, once at her face, a flame lit in my 

Oh, snowy-hearted, white-toothed one, whose ringlets 

are of gold, 
More dear art thou than Deirdre, leaving lovers mourning 

Or Blanaid, meshing thousands with her winning eyes 

of old ! 


Oh, bloom of women ! spurn me not for this rich suitor 

This boorish, noisy, songless man, who comes between us 

It's I would sweetly sing beneath the harvest moon's 

gold glory, 
For thee full many a Fenian lay and bold Milesian strain ! 

P. J. McCALL. 


OH, had you seen the Coolun, walking down by the 

cuckoo's street, 
With the dew of the meadow shining on her milk-white 

twinkling feet, 
My love she is, and my coleen oge, and she dwells in 

Bal'nagar ; 
And she bears the palm of beauty bright, from the 

fairest that in Erin are. 

In Bal'nagar is the Coolun, like the berry on the bough 

her cheek ; 
Bright beauty dwells for ever on her fair neck and 

ringlets sleek ; 
Oh, sweeter is her mouth's soft music, than the lark or 

thrush at dawn, 
Or the blackbird in the greenwood singing farewell to 

the setting sun. 

Rise up, my boy ! make ready my horse, for I forth would 

To follow the modest damsel, where she walks on the 

green hill side ; 
For, ever since our youth were we plighted, in faith, 

troth, and wedlock true 
She is sweeter to me nine times over than organ or cuckoo ! 


For, ever since my childhood I loved the fair and darling 

But our people came between us, and with lucre our 

pure love defiled ; 
Oh, my woe it is, and my bitter pain, and I weep it 

night and day, 
That the coleen bavm of my early love is torn from my 

heart away. 

Sweetheart and faithful treasure, be constant still, and 

Nor for want of herds and houses leave one who would 

ne'er leave you : 

I'll pledge you the blessed Bible, without and eke within, 
That the faithful God will provide for us, without thanks 

to kith and kin. 

Oh, love, do you remember when we lay all night alone, 
Beneath the ash in the winter-storm, when the oak wood 

round did groan ? 
No shelter then from the blast had we, the bitter blast 

and sleet, 
But your gown to wrap about our heads, and my coat 

around our feet. 



UT your head, darling, darling, 

Your darling black head my 

heart above ; 

Oh, mouth of honey, with 
the thyme for fragrance, 
Who, with heart in breast, 

could deny you love ? 
Oh, many and many a young girl for me is 

Letting her locks of gold to the cold 

wind free, 
For me, the foremost of our gay young 

fellows ; 
But I'd leave a hundred, pure love, for 

Then put your head, darling, darling, 


Your darling black head my heart above ; 
Oh, mouth of honey, with the thyme for fragrance, 
Who, with heart in breast, could deny you love ? 


i " Beloved Dark Head." 


RINGLETED youth of my love, 

With thy locks bound loosely behind thee, 
You passed by the road above, 

But you never came in to find me ; 
Where were the harm for you 

If you came for a little to see me, 
Your kiss is a wakening dew 

Were I ever so ill or so dreamy. 

If I had goldeft store 

I would make a nice little boreen 
To lead straight up to his door, 

The door of the house of my storeen ; 
Hoping to God not to miss 

The sound of his footfall in it, 
I have waited so long for his kiss 

That for days I have slept not a minute. 

I thought, O my love ! you were so 
As the moon is, or sun on a fountain, 

And I thought after that you were snow, 
The cold snow on top of the mountain ; 


And I thought after that, you were more 
Like God's lamp shining to find me, 

Or the bright star of knowledge before, 
And the star of knowledge behind me. 

You promised me high-heeled shoes, 

And satin and silk, my storeen, 
And to follow me, never to lose, 

Though the ocean were round us roaring ; 
Like a bush in a gap in a wall 

I am now left lonely without thee, 
And this house I grow dead of, is all 

That I see around or about me. 



WOMAN, shapely as the swan, 

On your account I shall 

not die, 
The men you've slain 

a trivial clan 
Were less than I. 

I ask me shall I die for 

For blossom-teeth and 

scarlet lips ? 
And shall that delicate 

Bring me eclipse ? 

Well shaped the breasts and smooth the skin, 
The cheeks are fair, the tresses free ; 
And yet I shall not suffer death, 
God over me ! 

Those even brows, that hair like gold, 
Those languorous tones, that virgin way ; 
The flowing limbs, the rounded heel 
Slight men betray. 


Thy spirit keen through radiant mien, 
Thy shining throat and smiling eye, 
Thy little palm, thy side like foam 
I cannot die ! 

O woman, shapely as the swan, 

In a cunning house hard-reared was I ; 

bosom white, O well-shaped palm, 

1 shall not die. 



WERE I to go to the West, from the West I would come 

not again, 
The hill that is highest I would climb, at the cord that 

is toughest I would strain ; 
The branch I would soonest pluck is far out of my reach 

in the hollow, 
And the track of my lover's feet is the track that my 

heart would follow. 

My heart is as dark as the sloe in a crack of the mountain 

gorge ; 
Or a burnt-out cinder fallen down at the back of the 

blazing forge ; 
As the stain of a miry shoe on the marble steps of a 

As the stain of a drowning fly in the wine of the Holy 

chalice. 1 

My heart is a cluster of nuts with every kernel dropped, 
My heart is the ice on the pond above, where the mill 

has stopped ; 

A mournful sadness is breaking over my running laughter 
Like the mirth of a maid at her marriage and the heavy 

sorrow after. 

1 This line is not in the original. 


You have taken the East from me and you have taken 

the West, 
You have taken the path before me and the path that is 

behind ; 
The moon is gone from me by night and the sun is gone 

by day, 
Alas ! I greatly dread you have stolen my God away ! 

By the Well of Loneliness I sit and make my moan ; 

I hear no sound in the depths below from the fall of 

the dropping stone ; 

I see the cold wide world, but my lad I do not see, 
Your shadow no longer lying between God and me. 

The colour of the blackberry is my old lover's colour ; 
Or the colour of the raspberry on a bright day of summer ; 
Or the colour of the heathberry where the bog-grass is 

Ah ! the blackest head is often on the form that's fairest. 

I heard the dog speak of you last night and the sun gone 

I heard the snipe calling aloud from the marshlands 

brown ; 

It is you are the lonely bird flitting from tree to tree 
May you never find your mate if you find not me ! 

It is time for me to leave this cruel town behind, 
The stones are sharp in it, the very mould unkind ; 
The voice of blame is heard like the muttering of the 


The heavy hand of the band of men backbiting me. 



I denounce love ; she who gave it to him is now all 

undone ; 

Little he understood, yon black mother's son. 
That my heart is turned to stone, what mattered that 

to you ? 
What were you caring for, but to get a cow or two ? 


Some of the verses in this poem are identical with those 
found in " Donall Oge," and also with the poem called 
* Breed Astore " in Dr. Hyde's Love Songs of Connaugbt. 
I have omitted those which occur in the former poem 
and added one quatrain from the latter, which it would 
be a pity to leave out. They seem to have been all 
parts of the same long poem. Here again we have 
Donall Oge or " Young Donall " as the lover. 

DONALL OGE, if you will go across the sea, 
Bring myself with you, and do not forget it ; 

There will be a " faring " for thee on fine days and 

And the daughter of the King of Greece as your bed- 
fellow at night. 

If you go over seas, there is a token I have of you, 
Your bright top-knot and your two grey eyes, 
Twelve ringlets on your yellow curling head, 
Like the cowslip or the rose-leaf in the garden. 

You promised me, but you spoke a lie to me, 

That you would be before me at the fold of the sheep ; 

1 let a whistle out and three hundred shouts for you, 
But I found nothing in it but a lamb a-bleating. 


You promised me, a thing that was hard for you, 
A ship of gold under a mast of silver, 
Twelve great towns of the world's market-towns, 
And a fine white court beside the sea. 

You promised me, a thing that was not possible, 
You would give me gloves of fishes' skin, 
You would give me shoes of the feathers of birds, 
And gowns of silk the richest in Erinn. 

Donall Oge, it were better for thee I to be with thee, 
Than a high-born, arrogant, wasteful lady ; 

1 would milk your cows and I would churn for you, 
And if it went hard with you, I would strike a blow with 


Och, ochone, it is not the hunger, 

Nor want of food and drink, nor want of sleep, 

That has left me wasting and weary ; 

The love of a young man it is that has sickened me. 

Early in the morning I saw the young man 
On the back of his horse going along the road ; 
He did not move over to me nor take any heed of me, 
And on my coming home, it is I who wept my fill. 

When I myself go to the Well of Loneliness 
I sit down and I go through my trouble, 
When I see the world and I see not my lad ; 
There was the shadow of amber upon his hair. 


It was a Sunday that I gave my love to you, 
The Sunday before Easter Sunday exactly ; 
I myself on my knees a-reading the Passion, 
My two eyes giving love to you ever after. 

Oye, little mother, give myself to him, 

And give him what is yours of goods entirely, 

Out with yourself a-begging alms 

And do not be going East and West seeking me. 

My little mother said to me not to speak with you 
To-day or to-morrow or on Sunday, 
It is in the bad hour she gave me that choice, 
It is " shutting the door after the theft." 

And you passed me by, dark and late, 

And you passed me by, and the light of the day in it ; 

If you would come in yourself and see me 

Never a word at all would I have with you. 1 

1 This last stanza is from Dr. Hyde's ' ' Breed Astore " (Love Songs, 
p. 77), where the third stanza is also found. 


WHEN I rose up in the morning early 

On a sunny day in the burst of spring, 
My step was lithe, and my form was burly, 

I felt as blithe as a bird on the wing ; 
As I was going out my way 

Who should stand in the path but Death ; 
I knew he was strong, and would not be said nay, 
So I wished him " Good-morrow," but I caught my 

When, " Hurry (HI, Shawn, for Pm wanting you to 
come with me," he saitb. 

Oh, then, Maura, is it parting I am from you, 

My thousand loves for ever on earth ? 
I who would plant the potatoes for you, 

I whom you needed to cut the turf ! 
I who would buy you the young milch cow, 

I who would croon you to sleep with a rann, 
I who at eve would lie down with your leave 
What ever would you do without your man ? 

Maura, keep me with you a little, little longer, if 
you can ! 

" There's many an old man down in the town, 
And no manner of use or abuse in him more ; 


There's little Dominic, wizened and brown, 

Begging his scraps from door to door ; 
And his wife and children famished with cold 

Trying to find him his bit of bread ; 

Death, 'tis your right to take the old 

And they say that Dominic's wrong in his head 

O Death, take Dominic with you, for 'tis badly I'm 
wanted, here,''' I said. 

" It's a fine man you are, but you stand in my way, 
I'd be thankful you'd let me get on to my fields ; " 

He raised his arm, it was cold as clay, 

And strong as the flail the thresher wields. 

1 tried to push him out of my road, 

But his bony fingers clutched me tight ; 
" I am your comrade henceforth," he said, 
" Another man tends your sheep to-night ; 

Hurry home, Shawn, I call for you again before the 
morning's light." 


OR a year my love lies down, 
In a little western town, 
And the sun upon the corn is 

not so sweet ; 

At the chill time of the year, 
On the hills where roams my dear, 
There is honey in the traces of her feet. 

If my longing I could get, 

I would take her in a net, 

And would ease my aching sorrow 

for a while ; 

And though all men say me nay 
I shall wed her on a day, 
She my darling of the sweet and sunny smile. 

I have finished with the plough, 

And must sow my seedlands now, 
I must labour in the face of wind and weather ; 

But in rain and frost and snow, 

Always as I come and go, 
I am thinking she and I should be together. 


love my heart finds fair ! 
It is little that you care 

Though I perish in the blackness of my grief ; 

But may you never tread 

God's Heaven overhead, 
If you scorn me and refuse my love relief. 

1 would count them little worth, 
All the women of the earth, 

And myself alone to have the choice among them ; 
For in books I read it clear, 
That the beauty of my dear, 

It has wrestled with their beauties and has flung 



'Tis what they say, 

Thy little heel fits in a shoe. 
'Tis what they say, 

Thy little mouth kisses well, too. 
'Tis what they say, 

Thousand loves that you leave me to rue ; 
That the tailor went the way 

That the wife of the Red man knew. 

Nine months did I spend 

In a prison closed tightly and bound ; 
Bolts on my smalls 

And a thousand locks frowning around j 
But o'er the tide 

I would leap with the leap of a swan, 
Could I once set my side 

By the bride of the Red-haired man. 

I thought, O my life, 

That one house between us, love, would be ; 
And I thought I would find 

You once coaxing my child on your knee ; 


But now the curse of the High One 

On him let it be, 
And on all of the band of the liars 

Who put silence between you and me. 

There grows a tree in the garden 

With blossoms that tremble and shake, 
I lay my hand on its bark 

And I feel that my heart must break. 
On one wish alone 

My soul through the long months ran, 
One little kiss 

From the wife of the Red-haired man. 

But the Day of Doom shall come, 

And hills and harbours be rent ; 
A mist shall fall on the sun 

From the dark clouds heavily sent ; 
The sea shall be dry, 

And earth under mourning and ban ; 
Then loud shall he cry 

For the wife of the Red-haired man. 




SALUTATION to thee, 

Seagull, who flew to my bosom, 
As the Maid of the West 

Winged her way o'er the waves of the sea ; l 
In wrath I will ravage the country 

Right up to the ridge of Roscuain ; 
But when I turn home again, 
Back to my bird again, 

'Tis I who am conquered then, 
Conquered by thee. 

Whiter thy neck, thousand loves, 

Than the swan that floats out on the billow ; 
Redder thy cheek 

Than the rose-blossom dropped from the tree ; 
Softer thy voice 

Than the cuckoo's low call from the willow, 
And smoother than silk, 

The fine silk of the silkworm, 
The silkworm in spinning, 
The fair lodes of thee. 

Maid without spot, matchless maiden, 

How lovely the bloom of thy forehead ! 
Where is the fortunate youth 

1 would care to betroth to thee ? 

i.e. Deirdre, who fled with the sons of Usnach to Scotland. 



Why should I hide or conceal it ? 

The gloom of my soul I reveal it ; 
The mists round me thicken, 
With death I am stricken, 

'Twas the Red Man who smote 
When he stole thee from me. 

Blossom of beauty, my blossom, 

Ten thousand blessings before thee, 
Sick to the death is my heart 

For sorrowful lack of thee. 
If I could coax thee and tell thee 

How lonely I am and weary, 
Thy wild eyes would soften, 

Would soften in sorrow, 
At the pain of my loss, 
By the Red Man and thee. 

Though in a gaol I were fast, 

There below in the old Down quarter, 
Bolts on my wrist, and my waist 

Fastened tight under lock and key ; 
Swift as the flight of the falcon 

Or the swan swooping down on the harbour, 
I'd find thee and bind thee, 

In my arms I'd entwine thee, 
Ere the Red Man could part us, 
Could part thee from me. 


Y grief on the sea, 

How the waves of it roll ! 

How they heave between me 

And the love of my soul ! 

Abandoned, forsaken, 
To grief and to care, 

Will the sea ever waken 
Relief from despair ? 

My grief, and my trouble ! 

Would he and I were 
In the province of Leinster, 

Or county of Clare. 

Were I and my darling 
Oh, heart-bitter wound !- 

On board of the ship 
For America bound. 

On a green bed of rushes 
All last night I lay, 



And I flung it abroad 
With the heat of the day. 

And my love came behind me 

He came from the South ; 
His breast to my bosom, 

His mouth to my mouth. 


OR6 MH6R, A MH6lRfN 

O DEAR is Paudheen, blithe and gay, 
Upon a fair or market day ; 
But far more dear a March morn clear, 
As in his boat he singeth gay ! 
Oro wore, a-woreen ! 

Oro wore, love, will you go, 
Oro wore, a-woreen ! 

Golden hair, out for a row ? 

He said and said what did he say ? 
He said he'd come on Brigid's Day ! 
But shirt and sock were in the crock ; 
And so he couldn't speed away ! 
Oro wore, &c. 

He said and said what did he say ? 
He said he'd come on Patrick's Day ! 
But coat and stock were under lock ; 
And so he couldn't steal away ! 
Oro wore, &c. 

He said and said what did he say ? 
He said he'd come on Sheela's Day ! * 

1 The day after St. Patrick's Day. 

OR6 MH6R, A MH6IRIN 305 

But Borna Rock fell with a shock 
Upon him, so he stayed away ! 
Oro wore, &c. 

He said and said what did he say f 
He said he'd come on Easter Day ! 
But at the knock he met a flock 
Of geese, that frightened him away ! 
Oro wore, &c. 

He said and said what did he say ? 
He said he'd come this very day ! 
If he should mock, I pray some rock 
May wreck his corrach on the way ! 
Oro wore, a-woreen ! 

Oro wore, love, will you go, 
Oro wore, a-woreen ! 

Golden hair, out for a row ? 



Taken down ir Co. Mayo from Michael Mac Rudhraighe. 

AM sick, sick, 

No part of me sound ; 

The heart in my middle 

Dies of its wound, 

Pining the time 

When she did stand 

With me shoulder to shoulder 

And hand in hand. 

I travelled west 

By the little yellow road 

In the hope I might see 

Where my Secret abode. 

White were her two breasts, 

Red her hair, 

Guiding the cow 

And the weaned calf, her care. 

Until wind flows 
From this stream west, 
Until a green plain spreads 
On the withered crest, 


And white fields grow 
The heather above, 
My heart will not find 
Kindness from my love. 

There's a flood in the river 
Will not ebb till day, 
And dread on me 
That my love is away. 
Can I live a month 
With my heart's pain 
Unless she will come 
And see me again ? 

I drink a measure 
And I drink to you, 
I pay, I pay, 
And I pay for two. 
Copper for ale 
And silver for beer 
And do you like coming 
Or staying here ? 



Taken down from a man named William O'Ryan. of Newcastle, 
Upper Galway. 

I'VE a story to tell you, 

My little Duideen, 
As ugly a story 

As ever was seen ; 
The days are gone by 

When I held my head high, 
And that this is your doing, 

You cannot deny. 

It is you, without doubt, 

Stole my means and my wealth, 
My name and my fortune, 

My friends and my health ; 
But if only I were 

In new lands far from Clare, 
I'd be scraping and saving 

With the best of them there ! 

While you are well-filled, 
Cleaned up, and kept trim, 

There's no bread on my plate 
And no strength in my limb ; 


Were I hung as a scarecrow, 

In the fields over-night, 
Sure, not only the birds 

But my friends would take flight ! 

I might buy a laced hat 

For your handsome young head, 
That would pass with O'Hara, 

When all's done and said ; 
But to you 'tis no odds 

Though I fast day and night, 
Your mouth is wide open 

Still asking its light. 

When I go out to Mass 

My best coat is in slashes, 
And quite half my food 

Has been burnt in the ashes ; 
My heels may go cold, 

'Tis for you, I allege, 
The tobacconist's shop 

Has my breeches in pledge ! 

The time that poor Nora 

Thought me down at the loom, 
Throwing the shuttle 

Or doing a turn ; 
I'd be lighting my pipe 

About old Joseph's door ; 
Discoursing and drinking 

An hour or more. 


O, my little duideen, 

My little duideen, 
You're the cunningest rogue 

That ever was seen ! 
But I'm done with you quite, 

Off, out of my sight ! 
With O'Kelly the weaver 

I'm away at daylight ! 


From an Irish Keen. 

" THERE'S darkness in thy dwelling-place and silence 

reigns above, 
And Mary's voice is heard no more, like the soft voice of 

Yes ! thou art gone, my Mary dear ! And Morian 


Is left to sing his song of woe, and wail for thee alone. 
Oh ! snow-white were thy virtues ! the beautiful, the 

The old with pleasure bent to hear the music of thy 

tongue ; _ 
The young with rapture gazed on thee, and their hearts 

in love were bound, 
For thou wast brighter than the sun that sheds its light 


My soul is dark, O Mary dear ! thy sun of beauty's set ; 
The sorrowful are dumb for thee the grieved their tears 

forget ; 

And I am left to pour my woe above thy grave alone ; 
For dear wert thou to the fond heart of Morian Shehone. 


" Fast-flowing tears above the grave of the rich man are 

But they are dried when the cold stone shuts in his 

narrow bed ; 
Not so with my heart's faithful love the dark grave 

cannot hide 
From Morian's eyes thy form of grace, of loveliness, and 

Thou didst not fall like the sere leaf, when autumn's chill 

winds blow 
'Twas a tempest and a storm-blast that has laid my 

Mary low. 
Hadst thou not friends that loved thee well ? hadst 

thou not garments rare ? 
Wast thou not happy, Mary ? wast thou not young and 

Then why should the dread spoiler come, my heart's 

peace to destroy, 

Or the grim tyrant tear from me my all of earthly joy ? 
Oh ! am I left to pour my woes above thy grave alone ? 
Thou idol of the faithful heart of Morian Shehone ! 

" Sweet were thy looks and sweet thy smiles, and kind 

wast thou to all ; 
The withering scowl of envy on thy fortunes dared not 

For thee thy friends lament and mourn, and never cease 

to weep 
Oh ! that their lamentations could awake thee from thy 

sleep ! 
Oh ! that thy peerless form again could meet my loving 

clasp ! 


Oh ! that the cold damp hand of Death could loose his 

iron grasp ! 
Yet, when the valley's daughters meet beneath the tall 

elm tree, 

And talk of Mary as a dream that never more shall be, 
Then may thy spirit float around, like music in the air, 
And pour upon their virgin souls a blessing and a prayer. 
Oh ! am I left to pour my wail above thy grave alone ? " 
Thus sinks in silence the lament of Mori an Shehone. 



OCH, Modereen Rue, you little red rover, 
By the glint of the moon you stole out of your cover, 
And now there is never an egg to be got, 
Nor a handsome fat chicken to put in the pot. 
Och, Modereen Rue ! 

With your nose to the earth and your ear on the listen, 
You slunk through the stubble with frost-drops aglisten, 
With my lovely fat drake in your teeth as you went, 
That your red roguish children should breakfast content. 
Och, Modereen Rue ! 

Och, Modereen Rue, hear the horn for a warning, 
They are looking for red roguish foxes this morning ; 
But let them come my way, you little red rogue, 
'Tis I will betray you to huntsman and dog. 
'Och, Modereen Rue ! 

The little red rogue, he's the colour of bracken, 
O'er mountains, o'er valleys, his pace will not slacken, 
Tantara ! Tantara ! he is off now, and, faith ! 
'Tis a race 'twixt the little red rogue and his death. 
Och, Modereen Rue ! 

The fox. 


Och, Modereen Rue, I've no cause to be grieving 

For the little red rogues with their tricks and their 


The hounds they give tongue, and the quarry's in sight, 
The hens on the roost may sleep easy to-night. 
Och, Modereen Rue ! 

But my blessing be on him. He made the hounds follow 
Through the woods, through the dales, over hill, over 


It was Modereen Rue led them fast, led them far, 
From the glint of the morning till eve's silver star. 
Och, Modereen Rue ! 

But he saved his red brush for his own future wearing, 
He slipped into a drain, and he left the hounds swearing. 
Good luck, my fine fellow, and long may you show 
Such a clean pair of heels to the hounds as they go. 
Och, Modereen Rue ! 



HE stars stand up in 

the air, 

The sun and the moon are set, 
The sea that ebbed dry of its tide 
Leaves no single pebble wet ; 
The cuckoo keeps saying each hour 
That she, my Storeen, is fled, 
O Girl of the brave, free tresses, 

Far better had you struck me 

Three things have I learned 

through love, 
Sorrow, and death, and pain, 
My mind reminding me daily 
I never shall see you again ; 
You left me no cure for my sickness, 
Yet I pray, though my night be long, 
My sharp grief ! and my heart is broken , 
That God may forgive your wrong. 


She was sweeter than fiddle and lute, 
Or the shining of grass through the dew, 
She was soft as the blackbird's flute 
When the light of the day is new ; 
From her feet on the lone hill-top 
I have heard the honey dropping ; 
Why, Girl, did you come to my door ? 
Or why could you not be stopping ? 


THIS weariness, this gnawing pain, 

Are moving greatly through my brain ; 
The tears down-dropping from rny eyes, 

The full of my two shoes with sighs. 
I think the Sunday long, and pray 

You may come stepping down my way ; 
Twice over I my lover lack, 

When he departs till he come back. 

My thousand treasures and my love, 

At break of summer let us rove, 
And watch the flickering twilight dwell 

Above the windings of the dell. 
I claim no gift of cows and sheep ; 

But if I ask of thee to keep 
My hand within thy circling arm, 

Where were the harm ? where were the harm ? 

Farewell ! the fading light, 
Would that last night were still to-night ! 
Would that my darling, with his smile, 

Would coax me to his knee awhile ! 
Bend down and hear, my tale I'll tell, 
Could you but keep my secret well : 
I fear my lover's gone from me ; 
O God and Mary, can this be ? 


WELL for thee, unsighted bard, 

Not half so hard thy plight as mine ; 
Hadst thou seen her for whom I pine, 

Sickness like mine were thy reward. 

O would to God I had been blind 

Or e'er her twined locks caught my eye, 
Her backward glance as she passed by 

Then had my fate been less unkind. 

Till my grief outgrew all griefs, 

I had pitied sightless men ; 
Now hold I them happy and envy them 

In the snare of her smile ensnared I lie. 

Oh ! woe that ever her face was seen ! 

And woe that I see her not every day ! 
Woe to him who is knotted to her alway, 

Woe to him who is loosed from the knot, I ween. 

Woe to him when she comes, woe to him when she goes, 
To the lover who wins her, his love is but pain ; 

To the lover she flies who would call her again, 
To him and to me, it is woe of all woes ! 


Anthony Raftery died at Craughwell. Co. Galway, October 1835 

I AM Raftery the Poet 

Full of hope and love, 
With eyes that have no light, 

With gentleness that has no misery. 

Going west upon my pilgrimage 

By the light of my heart, 
Feeble and tired 

To the end of my road. 

Behold me now, 

And my face to the wall, 
A-playing music 

Unto empty pockets. 



Anthony Raftery. 

OING to Mass, by 

the will of God 
The day came wet 
and the wind rose; 
I met Mary Haynes at the 

cross of Kiltartan 
And I fell in love with her 
then and there. 

I spoke to her kind and 

t As by report was her own 

And she said, " Raftery, my 

mind is easy, 
You may come to-day to 


When I heard her offer I did not linger, 
When her talk went to my heart my heart rose. 
We had only to go across the three fields, 
We had daylight with us to Baile-laoi. 


The table was laid with glasses and a quart measure ; 
She had fair hair and she sitting beside me, 
And she said, " Drink, Raftery, and a hundred welcomes, 
There is a strong cellar in Baile-laoi." 

O star of light, and O sun in harvest, 

amber hair, O my share of the world, 
Will you come with me upon Sunday 

Till we agree together before all the people ? 

1 would not grudge you a song every Sunday evening, 
Punch on the table or wine if you would drink it, 
But, O King of Glory, dry the roads before me, 

Till I find the way to Baile-laoi. 

There is a sweet air on the side of the hill 

When you are looking down upon Baile-laoi ; 

When you are walking in the valley picking nuts and 

There is music of the birds in it and music of the sidhe. 

What is the worth of greatness till you have the 


Of the flower of the branch that is by your side ? 
There is no good to deny it or to try to hide it, 
She is the sun in the heavens who wounded my heart. 

There is no part of Ireland I did not travel 
From the rivers to the tops of the mountains, 
To the edge of Loch Greine whose mouth is hidden, 
And I saw no beauty that was behind hers. 


Her hair was shining and her brows were shining, too ; 
Her face was like herself, her mouth pleasant and sweet. 
She is my pride, and I give her the branch, 
She is the shining flower of Baile-laoi. 

It is Mary Haynes, the calm and easy woman, 
Her beauty in her mind and in her face. 
If a hundred clerks were gathered together, 
They could not write down a half of her ways. 


The title is added by Mr. W. B. Yeats to an article 
written by him on this poem in The Dome (New Series, 
vol. iv.). Lady Gregory informs me that Mr. Yeats has 
slightly worked over her translation. 


Anthony Raftery. 

THERE is a bright posy on the edge of the quay 
And she far beyond Deirdre with her pleasant ways 
Or if I would say Helen, the queen of the Greeks, 
On whose account hundreds have fallen at Troy. 
The flame and the white in her mingled together, 
And sweeter her mouth than cuckoo on the bough, 
And the way she has with her, where will you find them 
Since died the pearl that was in Ballylaoi ? 

If you were to see the sky-maiden decked out 
On a fine sunny day in the street, and she walking, 
The light shining out from her snow-white bosom 
Would give sight of the eyes to a sightless man. 
The love of hundreds is on her brow, 
The sight of her as the gleam of the Star of Doom ; 
If she had been there in the time of the gods 
It is not to Venus the apple would have gone. 

Her hair falling with her down to her knees, 
Twining and curling to the mouth of her shoe ; 
Her parted locks, with the grey of the dew on them, 
And her curls sweeping after her on the road ; 


She is the coolun is brightest and most mannerly 
Of all who ever opened eye or who lived in life ; 
And if the country of Lord Lucan were given me, 
By the strength of my cause, the jewel should be mine. 

Her form slender, chalk-white, her cheeks like roses, 
And her breasts rounded over against her heart ; 
Her neck and her brow and her auburn hair, 
She stands before us like the dew of harvest. 
Virgil, Cicero, nor the power of Homer, 
Would not bring any to compare with her bloom and 
gentle ways ; 

Blossom of Youth, I am guilty with desire of you, 
And unless you come to me I shall not live a month. 

Walking or dancing, if you were to see the fair shoot, 
It is to the Flower of the Branches you would give your 


Her face alight, and her heart without sorrow, 
And were it not pleasant to be in her company ? 
The greatness of Samson or Alexander 

1 would not covet, surely, in place of my desire ; 
And if I do not get leave to talk to Mary Staunton 
I am in doubt that short will be my life. 

She bade me " Good-morrow " early, with kindness, 
She set a stool for me, and not in the corner, 
She drank a drink with me, she was the heart of hos- 

At the time that I rose up to go on my way. 
I fell to talking and discoursing with her, 
It was mannerly she looked at me, the apple-blossom, 
And here is my word of mouth to you, without falsehood, 
That I have left the branch with her from Mary Brown. 


MY grief and my pain ! a mortal disease is love, 

Woe, woe unto him who must prove it a month or even 

a day, 
It hath broken my heart, and my bosom is burdened 

with sighs, 
From dreaming of her gentle sleep hath forsaken mine 


I met with the fairy host at the liss beside Ballyfinnane ; 
I asked them had they a herb for the curing of love's 

cruel pain. 
They answered me softly and mildly, with many a 

pitying tone, 
" When this torment comes into the heart it never goes 

out again." 

It seems to me long till the tide washes up on the strand ; 
It seems to me long till the night shall fade into day ; 
It seems to me long till the cocks crow on every hand ; 
And rather than the world were I close beside my love. 

Do not marry the grey old man, but marry the young 

man, dear ; 
Marry the )ad who loves you, my grief, though he live 

not out the year ; 



Youthful you are, and kind, but your mind is not yet come 

to sense, 
And if you live longer, the lads will be following you. 

My woe and my plight ! where to-night is the snowdrift 

and frost ? 
Or even I and my love together breasting the waves of 

the sea ; 

Without bark, without boat, without any vessel with me, 
But I to be swimming, and my arm to be circling her 



Douglas Hyde. 

I AM watching my young calves sucking ; 

Who are you that would put me out of my luck ? 
Can I not be walking, can I not be walking, 

Can I not be walking on my own farm-lands ? 

I will not for ever go back before you, 

If I must needs be submissive to thee, great is my 

If I cannot be walking, if I cannot be walking, 

If I cannot be walking on my own farm-lands. 

Little heed I pay, and 'tis little my desire, 

Thy fine blue cloak and thy bright bird's plumes, 

If I cannot be walking, if I cannot be walking, 
If I cannot be walking on my own farm-lands ! 

There is a day coming, it is plain to my eyes, 

When there will not be amongst us the mean likes 
of you ; 

But each will be walking, each will be walking, 
Wherever he will on his own farm-lands. 


Douglas Hyde. 

I was happy, 

And joyous with that, 
Now I am sorrowful 
Weary and sick. 

Thinking on the colleen 
By night and by day, 

Hurt by the colleen, 
Wounded with love. 

The sight of her eyes, 
The sweetness of her 

It is these that have 

stricken ne 
And left me without guidance. 

A colleen like she is 

Is not in this life, 
And she herself has left 

Myself without sense. 


A colleen like she is 

Is not in this world ; 
Vein of my own heart 

Whom I have chosen. 

Little hand of my love 

It is whiter than snow ; 
She hath left us with wounds 

And with wandering of the mind. 

Three long months 

Almost, am I lying ; 
I am pierced with her arrows 

And my heart in torment. 

God of Graces, 
Listen to my prayer, 

Give death to me 
Or give me her. 

Look on my lamentations, 

Look on my tears ; 
Were not my thoughts on thee, Storeen, 

All these years ? 

Look on my lamentations, 
Listen to me, Aroon, 

1 am as a sheep, 

A sheep without its lamb ! 

Wilt thou be hard, 

Colleen, as thou art tender ? 

Wilt thou be without pity 
On us for ever ? 


Listen to me, Noireen, 

Listen, Aroon ; 
Put some word of healing 

From thy quiet mouth. 

I am in the pathway 

That is dark and narrow, 
The little path that has guided 

Thousands to slumber. 


Douglas Hyde. 

OH, if there were in this wide world 

One little place at all, 
To be my own, my own alone, 

My own over all ; 
Great were the joy, the comfort great, 

And me so lone, 
With no place in the world to say 

" This is my own." 

Sad it is to be knowing this, 

For any man, and woe, 
That there is not in life for him 

Liking or love below ; 
That there is not in the world for him 

A hand or a head 
That would be doing a turn for him 

Alive or dead. 

Sharp it is and sorrowful, 


Sad it is and sorrowful 

Past all belief. 
'Tis all the same how you are 

To the passer-by, 
'Tis all the same to you, at last, 

To live or die. 


Seosamh mac Catbmhaoil. 

I FOLLOW a star 
Burning deep in the blue, 
A sign on the hills 
Lit for me and for you ! 

Moon-red is the star, 
Halo-winged like a rood, 
Christ's heart in its heart set, 
Streaming with blood. 

Follow the gilly 

Beyond to the west ; 

He leads where the Christ lies 

On Mary's white breast. 

King, priest, and prophet 
A child, and no more 
Adonai the Maker ! 
Come, let us adore. 

Translation by the author. 




LEEP, my child, my darling child, my 

lovely child, sleep ! 
The sea sleepeth on the green fields, 
The moon sleepeth on the blue waters, 
Sleep, my child, my darling 
child, my lovely child, sleep ! 

Sleep, my child ! 
The morning sleepeth upon 

a bed of roses, 
The evening sleepeth on the 

tops of the dark hills ; 
Sleep, my child, my darling 
child, child of my heart's 
love, sleep ! 

Sleep, my child ! 
The winds sleep in the rocky 

The stars sleep on their 

pillow of clouds, 
Sleep, my child, my darling child, my little child, sleep ! 


Sleep, my child ! 

The mist sleepeth on the bosom of the valley, 
The broad lake beneath the shade of the trees, 

Sleep, my child, my darling child, my tender child, sleep ! 

Sleep, my child ! 

The flower sleeps, while the night-dew falls, 
The wild birds sleep upon the mountains ; 

Sleep, my child, my darling child, my blessed child, sleep ! 

Sleep, my child ! 

The burning tear sleepeth upon the cheek of sorrow 

But thy sleep is not the sleep of tears, 
Sleep, my child, my darling child, child of my bosom, 
sleep ! 

Sleep, my child ! 

Sleep in quiet, sleep in joy, my darling, 
May thy sleep be never the sleep of sorrow ! 

Sleep, my child, my darling child, my lovely child, sleep ! 



Deirin de, Deirin de ! 
The brown bittern speaks in the bog ; 

Deirin de, Deirin de ! 
The night-jar is abroad on the heath. 

Deirin de, Deirin de ! 
Kine will go west at dawn of day ; 

Deirin de, Deirin de ! 
And my child will go to the pasture to mind them. 

Deirin de, Deirin de ! 
Moon will rise and sun will set ; 

Deirin de, Deirin de ! 
Kine will come east at end of day. 

Deirin de, Deirin de ! 
I will let my child go gathering blackberries, 

Deirin de, Deirin de ! 
If he sleep softly till the ring of day ! 



I'D rock my own sweet childie to rest 

In a cradle of gold on the bough of the willow, 
To the shoheen ho ! of the Wind of the West 
And the lulla lo ! of the blue sea billow. 
Sleep, baby dear ! 
Sleep without fear ! 
Mother is here beside your pillow. 

I'd put my own sweet childie to float 

In a silver boat on the beautiful river, 
Where a shoheen ! whisper the white cascades 
And a lulla lo ! the green flags shiver. 
Sleep, baby dear ! 
Sleep without fear ! 
Mother is here with you for ever ! 

Shoheen ho ! to the rise and fall 

Of mother's bosom, 'tis sleep has bound you ! 
And oh, my child, what cosier nest 

For rosier rest could love have found you ? 
Sleep, baby dear ! 
Sleep without fear ! 
Mother's two arms are close around you ! 



I WISH the shepherd's pet were mine, 
I wish the shepherd's pet were mine, 
I wish the shepherd's pet were mine, 
The pretty white lamb in the clover. 
And oh ! I hail, I hail thee, 
And oh ! I hail, I hail thee, 
The love of my heart for ever thou art, 
Thou little pet of thy mother. 

I wish that scores of kine were mine, 
I wish that scores of kine were mine, 
I wish that scores of kine were mine, 
And Kathleen, the love of her mother. 
And oh ! I hail, I hail thee, 
And oh ! I hail, I hail thee, 
The love of my heart for ever thou art, 
Thou little pet of thy mother. 



GOAD her, and whip her, and drive, 
The old woman's little brown mare, 
Stand up on the plough, look alive, 
And see if our dinner is there. 


The corn is a-reaping, 

Goad her and whip her and drive. 
The stocks are a-heaping, 

Goad her and whip her and drive. 
The corn is a-binding, 

Goad her and whip her and drive. 
In the mill it is grinding, 

Goad her and whip her and drive. 
We soon shall be feeding, 

Goad her and whip her and drive. 
For the flour is a-kneading, 

Goad her and whip her and drive. 
The bread is a-baking, 

Goad her and whip her and drive. 
Our dinner we are taking, 

She's the best little mare alive ! 



Whistle and shout with zest ! 

The little brown mare is good ! 

Unyoke her, and give her a rest, 

While we're stretching and getting our food 


These verses, improvised to the hum of the wheel, 
are flung from girl to girl as they sit spinning. The 
references are purely personal, and the refrain, which is 
sung by all the spinners, has no special meaning. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

I crossed the wood as the day was dawning ; 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

No doubt John O'Connell had had good warning 1 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

Oh ! John may go hang, it's not me he will catch ! 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 




Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

You mannerless girl, he'll be more than your match ! 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

Come, come now, leave off, or get me my own man I 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

Well, what do you think of Thomas O'Madigan ? 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

I hail him, and claim him, may we never be parted ! 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

Go east or go west, may you still be true-hearted ! 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

Go east and go west, and find me my love, too ! 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 



Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

There's Donall O' Flaherty, but I doubt will he take you ! 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

The man is too good, he'll be courting elsewhere ! 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 


Mallo lero, and eambo nero, 

There's no tree in the wood, but its equal is there ! 

Mallo lero, and eambo nero. 



" The Colloquy of the Two Sages," edited by Dr. 
Whitley Stokes from the Book of Le luster, p. i86a, is 
one of the most archaic pieces in tone that have come 
down to us. It represents the discussion between an 
aged poet and a young aspirant as to the sources of 
poetic inspiration, and shows us that the gifts of the 
bard were highly regarded as the direct endowment of 
the gods. Original in Rev. Celtique, No. xxviii. As in 
the following poem, I have made use of the scribal glosses 
or explanations wherever they seemed to throw light 
upon the original. 

" Amorgen sang." Professor John MacNeill has most 
kindly made a fresh collation of the manuscripts con- 
taining this obscure poem for my use. Parts, especially 
from line 20 onward, are doubtful. I have incorporated 
with the text such of the glosses as appear to make the 
meaning more intelligible, but the glosses themselves 
are mere scribes' guesses, often bad ones, at the sense 
of a text they did not understand. This poem, though 
ascribed to the earliest traditional poet of Ireland, is, 
Prof. MacNeill considers, rather pseudo-archaic, than of 
really great antiquity. The allusion to " Tetra's kine," 
which is explained in the gloss to mean " the fish of the 
sea," alludes to Tetra as Ruler of the Ocean ; in the 
"Colloquy" we found him ruling in the assemblies of 
the dead. The connection between the ocean and the 
invisible world is constant in Irish tradition. The poem 
appears to be an assertion of the Druid's powers, pre- 
paratory to the incantation for good fishing which follows 



immediately in most manuscripts. The final lines are 
an inquiry into the origin of created things, matter on 
which the bard or Druid claimed superior enlightenment. 

" The Song of Childbirth " and the succeeding " Greet- 
ing to the New-born Babe " are taken from the piece 
known as " The Birth of Conchobhar " (Compert Con- 
chobhar), edited from Stowe MS. 992, by Prof. Kuno 
Meyer in Rev. Celt. vi. pp. 173-182. 

" What is Love ? " From the story called the " Woo- 
ing of Etain" (Tochmarc Etaine). Original in Irische 
Texte, i. p. 124. 

" Summons to Cuchulain." From the " Sickbed of 
Cuchulain " (Serglige Conculaind). Original, ibid., p. 216. 
Overcome with fairy spells, the hero lies fast bound in 
heavy slumber ; the song is an appeal to him to throw 
off the charm and to arise. 

" Laegh's Description of Fairy-land." From the same 
story, ibid., p. 218. Laegh is Cuchulain's charioteer, 
who went into fairy-land instead of his master, and 
returns to extol its beauty. 

" The Lamentation of Fand when she is about to leave 
Cuchulain." From the dramatic incident in the same 
story, in which Fand, Queen of Fairy-land, and Emer, 
Cuchulain's mortal wife, struggle for the affection of the 
hero, after Cuchulain's return from fairy-land. Each 
woman fully recognises the nobility of the other ; and 
Fand's parting song, in which she restores him to Emer, 
is one of lofty renunciation. 

"Midir's Call to Fairy-land." From the story called 
the " W T ooing of Etain " (Tochmarc Etaine), ibid., p. 132. 

" Song of the Fairies." From A. H. Leahy's Heroic 
Romances of Ireland (D. Nutt, 1905), p. 29, taken from 
the same tale. Etairi was wife of Eochad (pron. Yochee), 
King of Ireland, but Mider, King of Fairy-Ian J, fell in 
love with her. He won an entry into the palace by 

NOTES 351 

playing chess with her husband, who demanded from 
Mider as the stake for which they played that the fairy 
hosts should clear away the rocks and stones from the 
plains of Meath, remove the rushes which made the land 
barren, build a causeway across the bog of Lamrach, and 
perform other services useful to his realm. The song is 
sung by the fairies while they are performing this heavy 
task. The final stake is won by Mider, who asks Etain 
as his prize. 

" The Lamentation of Deirdre," when her husband and 
two sons had been slain by King Conchobhar. She 
recalls the happy days spent with her husband in Alba 
or Scotland, on Lough Etive, and compares it to her 
present misery in the house of the King. Original, 
Irische Texte, i. pp. 77-81. In all the above poems there 
are many difficult and obscure passages. 

"Take my Tidings." A ninth century poem, edited 
and translated by Dr. Kuno Meyer in his Four Songs 
of Summer and Winter (D. Nutt, 1903), and by Dr. 
Whitley Stokes in Rev. Celt. xx. p. 258. It is ascribed 
to Fionn in the commentary on the " Amra Coluim 
Cille." Mr. Graves' poem will be found in his 7mA 
Poems, i. p. i (Maunsel & Co., Dublin). 

" Second Winter Song." Text and translation in Dr. 
Kuno Meyer's Four Songs of Summer and Winter. A longer 
poem on similar lines is to be found in the tale called the 
"Hiding of the Hill of Howth," Rev. Celt. xi. p. 125, 
reprinted in his Ancient Irish Poetry (Constable), p. 57 ; 
but in the former version the complaint of the lazy ser- 
vant-lad is answered by a fine song in which Fionn praises 
the signs of coming spring in earth and air. 

" In Praise of May." Original and translation pub- 
lished by Dr. K. Meyer from the tale called " The Boyish 
Exploits of Finn " in Rev. Celt. v. p. 195. It is said to 
have been composed by Fionn after he received inspira- 
tion by eating the " Salmon of Knowledge " at the River 


Boyne. Mr. Rolleston's poem is to be found in his 
Sea-Spray (Maunsel, 1909). 

" The Isle of Arran." The Arran here spoken of is the 
Scottish island of that name. The Fianna were accus- 
tomed to spend part of the autumn and winter hunting 
in that island. The poem occurs in the long Ossianic 
tract called " The Colloquy of the Ancients," published 
by Standish Hayes O'Grady in Silva Gadelica (Williams 
and Norgate, 1892). Text, p. 102 ; translation, p. 109. 

" The Parting of Goll with his Wife." From Duanaire 
Finn, edited by Prof. John MacNeill (Irish Texts Soc., vii., 
1908), pp. 23 and 121. Goll was leader of the Connaught 
Fians and was opposed to Fionn, the chief of the Leinster 
warriors. He is described as a man of lofty disposition 
and great valour. In this poem he is standing, driven 
to bay by his enemies, oa a bare rocky promontory, his 
wife only beside him, cut off from all hope of escape. 
Few poems relating to Goll remain in Ireland, but a good 
many survive in the Western Highlands of Scotland. 

' ' Youth and Age." Ibid., pp. 80 and 194. It is Oisin 
(Ossian) who here laments his departed youth. 

' ' Chill Winter. ' ' From the ' ' Colloquy of the Ancients, ' ' 
Silva Gadelica, text, p. 172 ; translation, p. 192. 

" The Sleep-song of Grainne." From Duanaire Finn, 
pp. 85 and 198. Dermot, who has carried off Grainne, 
the wife of Fionn, is lying down to rest in the forest, when 
Grainne hears the approach of their pursuers. She sings 
over him this passionate lullaby, in which the restless 
activities and foreboding terrors of the animal world are 
aptly used to heighten the sense of their own danger. 

" The slaying of Conbeg, Fionn's beloved hound." 
Original in Gaelic Journal, ix. No. 104, Feb. 1899, p. 328 ; 
the poem occurs in the "Colloquy of the Ancients," 
where the readings are slightly different (S7fa Gadelica, 
text. p. 143). 

NOTES 353 

"The Fairies' Lullaby." Original in Waifs and 
Strays of Celtic Tradition, Argyleshire Series, No. iv. 
(David Nutt, 1891). It was collected in Argyleshire by 
John Gregorson Campbell. 

" The Lay of the Forest Trees." Original in Silva 
Gadelica, i. p. 245 ; trans., ii. p. 278. This curious poem, 
which contains much folk-lore regarding forest-trees, 
arose out of the gathering of wood for a fire in the open 
air, by a servant or "Man of Smoke," as he is called. 
He accidentally threw upon it a block around which 
woodbine had twined. This called forth a protest from 
the onlookers, who declared that the burning of the 
woodbine would certainly bring ill-luck. 

" St. Patrick's Breastplate." See Dr. Kuno Meyer's 
Ancient Irish Poetry (Constable), pp. 25-7. Original in 
Stokes' and Strachan's Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus, ii. 
p. 354. Probably eighth century. 

" Patrick's Blessing on Munster," ninth century. 
Original in Dr. Whitley Stokes' Tripartite Life of St. 
Patrick, p. 216; literal translation in Dr. Kuno Meyer's 
A ncient Irish Poetry, p. 29. The present poetic rendering, 
kindly contributed to my book by Mr. A. P. Graves, has 
not hitherto been published. 

" Columcille's Farewell to Aran." See Dr. Douglas 
Hyde's Three Sorrows of Story-telling (T. Fisher Unwin, 
1895), pp. 146-8. 

" Columba in lona." Printed in William Skene's 
Celtic Scotland, ii. p. 92, from an Irish manuscript in the 
Burgundian Library, Brussels. It bears the ascription 
" Columcille fecit," and was transcribed and translated 
by O'Curry for Dr. Todd. Many poems are ascribed to 
the Saint, but the language of most of them is later than 
his time. 

" Hymn to the Dawn." From Silva Gadelica, by 
Standish Hayes O'Grady (Williams & Norgate); original, 
vol. i. p. 56 ; literal trans., ii. p. 59. The hymn was 



composed by St. Cellach on the morning on which he 
was slain by his old friends and fellow-students, who had 
been bought over to destroy him. 

" The Song of Manchan the Hermit." Original in 
riu, i. p. 39. A ninth century poem, with translation 
by Dr. Kuno Meyer. 

" A Prayer." Original and literal translation by Miss 
Mary E. Byrne in Eriu, ii., Part i. p. 89. 

"The Loves of Liadan and Curithir." This touching 
poem illustrates the tyrannical use sometimes made of 
their authority by the monks of the ancient Irish Church. 
St. Cummine, who was the confessor or " soul-friend " 
of the lovers, seems to have been a hard and censorious 
man. He lived in the first half of the seventh century. 
The poem, as we have it, is of the ninth century. Edited 
with translation by Dr. Kuno Meyer (D. Nutt, 1902). 
The love song has been reprinted in his Ancient Irish 

" The Lay of Prince Marvan." This song takes the 
form of a colloquy between Marvan, who had left his 
royal station to adopt a hermit life, and his brother 
King Guaire of Connaught (d. 662). Guaire, visiting 
him in his retirement, inquires why he prefers to sleep 
in a hut rather than in the comfort of a kingly palace ; 
in reply Marvan bursts forth into a song in praise of 
his retired woodland life. Original in King and Hermit, 
edited by Dr. Kuno Meyer (D. Nutt, 1901); translation 
reprinted in Ancient Irish Poetry, p. 47. 

" The Song of Crede." Text and translation in Eriu, ii. 
p. 1 5 ; its editor, Dr. Kuno Meyer, ascribes it to the tenth 
century. I have to thank Mr. A. P. Graves for most 
kindly giving me permission to use his unpublished poem. 

" The Student and his Cat," eighth or ninth century. 
Written on the margin of a codex of St. Paul's Epistles, 
in the monastery of Carinthia. Original and translation 

NOTES 355 

in Stokes* and Strachan's Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus, ii. 
P- 293- 

" Song of the Seven Archangels." Original in Eriu, ii., 
Part i. pp. 92-4, with literal translation by Thomas 
P. O'Nowlan. Mr. Ernest Rhys' poetical version, kindly 
contributed by him to this book, has not hitherto been 

" Saints of Four Seasons." Original in Erin, i., Part ii. 
pp. 226-7, with translation by Miss Mary E. Byrne. 
Mr. P. J. McCall's poetical version is printed in his Irish 
Fireside Songs (M. H. Gill, Dublin, 1911). 

"The Feathered Hermit." Original printed by Dr. 
K. Meyer in Gaelic Journal, iv., No. 40, February 1892, 
from a marginal note on Harl. MS. 5280 (Brit. Mus.). 

" An Aphorism." Ibid. ; also from a marginal note. 

" The Blackbird." Marginal note from a copy of 
Priscian in the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. 
Original in Stokes' and Strachan's Thesaurus Palaeo- 
hibernicus, p. 290. 

" Deus Meus." Printed by Dr. Whitley Stokes in the 
Calendar of (Engus, clxxxv. It is found written on the 
margin of the Leabhar Breac, facs., p. 101, and is there 
ascribed to Maelisu ua Brolcan (d. 1086). Dr. George 
Sigerson's poetical rendering will be found in his Bards 
of the Gael and Gall (T. Fisher Unwin, 1897), p. 193. 

" The Soul's Desire." Original and literal translation 
by Dr. Kuno Meyer in the Gaelic Journal, vol. v., No. 6, 
1894, p. 95. Though printed from comparatively late 
copies, the hymn gives the impression of being ancient. 

" Song of the Sea." Original and literal translation by 
Dr. Kuno Meyer in Otia Merseiana (Liverpool), ii. p. 76. 
It is ascribed to the poet Ruman, who died 707, but the 
editor believes it to be of the eleventh century. 

" Lament of the Old Woman of Beare." From Dr. 


Kuno Meyer's text and translation in Otia Merseiana, i. 
p. 119 ff. It has since been reprinted in the author's 
Selections from Early Irish Poetry, pp. 88-91. The editor 
would put the poem down to the late tenth century. 

" Gormliath's Lament for Nial Black-knee." From 
the Scottish Book of the Dean of Lismore, edited by Rev. 
Thos. M'Lauchlan. 

" The Mother's Lament." First printed by Rev. 
Edmund Hogan in his Latin Lives of the Irish Saints 
(Todd Lectures, V., 1894); see also Gaelic Journal, iv. 
p. 89, and Kuno Meyer's Ancient Irish Poetry, p. 42. 
Eleventh century ? Mr. Graves has kindly given me 
permission to use his excellent unpublished version. 

" Consecration." Original from the Book of the Dean 
of Lismore, a collection of poems made in the Western 
Islands about 1512 by Sir James McGregor, Dean of 
Lismore, Argyleshire, p. 121. It contains many Irish 
poems. This and the two following poems are ascribed 
to Murdoch O'Daly, called " Muredach Albanach," or 
Murdoch the Scot, on account of his long residence in 
that country. He is styled " Bard of Erin and Alba." 
He was a Connaught poet, who ended a stormy career 
by retiring to the Irish monastery of Knockmoy. It is 
probable that these religious poems, if not actually 
written by him, were composed about his period. 

" Teach me, O Trinity," ibid., p. 123. 

"The Shaving of Murdoch," ibid., p. 158 note, from a 
translation made by Standish H. O'Grady. This curious 
poem refers to the tonsuring of the bard and his con- 
temporary Connaught chieftain, Cathal of the Red Hand, 
when they entered the monastery of Knockmoy together. 
In Scotland Murdoch is remembered as the first of the 
Macvurrachs, bards to the Macdonalds of Clanranald. 
He lived 1180-1225, and Cathal of the Red Hand, 1184- 

''Eileen Aroon." Original in Hardimen, i. p. 264; it 

NOTES 357 

should be compared with the version, ibid., p. 211. The 
present is the oldest form. Carol O'Daly, who composed it, 
was an accomplished Connaught gentleman, whose desire 
to marry Eileen Kavanagh was frustrated by her friends. 
He fled the country, but returned, disguised as a harper, 
on the eve of her marriage to another suitor, and entered 
the guest-chamber. He poured out this impassioned 
appeal with such good effect, that Eileen fled with him 
that night. The last lines are a welcome to her in re- 
sponse to her avowal of love. The air is very ancient ; 
in Scotland it is known as " Robin Adair." 

" The Downfall of the Gael." Original in Hardiman's 
Irish Minstrelsy, ii. p. 102. O'Gnive, bard of the O'Neills 
of Clandaboy, accompanied Shane O'Neill to London in 
i 562, on the occasion of that chief's visit to Queen Eliza- 
beth. The poem is a lament over the condition of Ireland 
and the inaction of the chiefs. Sir Samuel Ferguson's 
rendering will be found in Lays of the Western Gael 
(Sealy, Bryers & Walker. 1888), p. 136. 

" Address to Brian O'Rourke of the Bulwarks " (na 
murtha), a poem of seventy quatrains from Egerton MS. 
iii., art. 85. Dr. Standish Hayes O'Grady has given 
specimens of this poem in his valuable Catalogue of Irish 
MSS. in the British Museum, pp. 412-20. Another poem 
addressed to the same chief will be found in Hardiman, 
ii. pp. 266-305, by John mac Torna O'Mulchonaire. 
The writer of the present poem, Teigue O'Higgin, called 
Teigue " Dall," i.e. the Blind, on account of his blindness, 
is one of the best of all the tribal poets of Ireland. He 
was poet to the chiefs of Co. Sligo, but he came to an 
untimely end on account of a satire made by him on the 
O'Haras, who had ill-used him, some time before 1617. 
In the poem we give, he endeavours to arouse Brian to 
action, and calls on him to unite the clans against Eng- 
land, a challenge which O'Rourke did not fail to obey. 
It is a good sample of much bardic poetry of the period. 

" Ode to the Maguire," by Eochadh O'Hosey or Hussey. 
the last bard of the Maguires, whose strongly fortified 


castle still frowns upon the waters of the Upper and 
Lower Lochs Erne, at 'Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. His 
young chief, Hugh Maguire, had marched into Munster 
in the depth of the winter of 1599-1600, with 2500 foot 
and 200 horse on a warlike foray ; the bard, sitting at 
home in Fermanagh, bewails the hardships which he feels 
sure the chief and his followers are enduring in the open 
camps during the winter's weather. A fine copy of this 
poem is found in the O'Gara manuscript in the Royal 
Irish Academy, Dublin, of which Egerton 111 is a copy 
(and see O'Grady's Catalogue, p. 451). 

" A Lament for the Princes of Tyrone and Tyrconnel," 
by the family bard, Red Owen Mac Ward, in the form of 
an address of comfort to O'Donnell's sister, Nuala, who 
is supposed to be weeping over her brother's grave in 
Rome, where he had taken refuge after his flight from 
Ireland. He lies buried, beside Hugh O'Neill, in the 
Church of San Pietro Montario, on the Janiculum. The 
bard imagines the clans of the North of Ireland gather- 
ing to bewail the dead and share Nuala's grief. Though 
Mangan's broken metre imparts a fervour and fire to the 
original, he adds nothing to its slow monotonous im- 
pressiveness. For original see Egerton 111, Art. 48 
(Brit. Mus.), and translation of extracts in O'Grady's 
Catalogue, pp. 371-3. Mangan's version has been often 

" Co. Mayo." There are many versions of this favourite 
song. That given here is said to have been composed by 
a bard named Thomas Flavell, a native of Bophin on the 
Western Seaboard. Hardiman gives the Irish of this 
song, i. p. 337 ; and also another version by David 
O'Murchadh, or Murphy, ibid., pp. 229-33. Flavell was a 
poor dependent on the fourth Earl of Mayo, and lived 
about the middle of the seventeenth century. For a 
different song of the same name, see Dr. Hyde's Poems of 
Raftery, p. 96. 

"The Flower of Nut-brown Maids" is the oldest of 
the numerous songs written to the air " Uileacan Dubh O." 
This poem dates from the seventeenth century, and it is 

NOTES 359 

said to be an invitation addressed by one of the unfor- 
tunate landowners, driven out of Ulster during the plan- 
tation of James I, to his lady, to follow him to Leitrim. It 
seems to refer to a time of famine, and is, like many other 
love-songs, in the form of a colloquy. Original in Hardi- 
raan, i. p. 258. 

"Roisin Dubh." from the original in O'Daly's Poets 
and Poetry of Munster, where two versions are given. 
It is the poem on which Mangan founded his " Dark 
Rosaleen." The poem is an address to Ireland, veiled as 
a woman. Hardiman gives some quatrains in vol. i. 
pp. 254-61. 

" The Fair Hills of fiire " is one of several sets of words 
attached to the tender old air " Uileacan Dubh O," or 
" Oh, the heavy lamentation." One, rendered familiar 
in Dr. Samuel Ferguson's version, beginning, " A plenteous 
place is Ireland for hospitable cheer," is said to have been 
written by an Irish student in one of the colleges of 
France probably early in the seventeenth century, when 
most of the promising Irish youths went abroad for their 
education. The version here given in Dr. Sigerson's fine 
rendering was written by Donnchad Ruadh MacNamara 
about 1730. It has also been rendered into English by 
Mangan. For the original, see Poems by Donnchadh 
Ruadh MacNamara, edited by Tomas O'Flannghaile 
(1897). Dr. George Sigerson's poem will be found in his 
Bards of the Gael and Gall (T. Fisher Unwin, 1897), p. 245. 

" Love's Despair " (ibid., p. 339). This touching poem 
was wntten by a young farmer of Cork who, near the 
time of his marriage, had gone into the city to buy the 
wedding-dress for his betrothed. On his way back he 
heard that she had been married to another man. In 
despair he flung his presents into the fire. His reason 
gave way, and h roamed the country henceforth, ever 
singing the cruelty of Mary and his own misfortunes. His 
story was well known in Co. Waterford, where he lived 
a great part of his life. Original in Gaelic Journal, vol. iii., 
1887, p. 22. 


The literal translation of the second stanza runs as 
follows : 

" No one knows my case, or how I may find life. 
But only the woman who has made me ill ; 
My cure is not on sea or shore, nor in herb or skill of 


My cure is only in the Flower of Youth. 
I know not hen from cuckoo, I know not heat from cold, 
At no time dp I know my friends ; 
I know not night from day, but my heart would know 

its love, 
Should she come in time to save me." 

"The Cruiskeen Lawn." Dr. Sigerson's version (ibid., 
p. 258), here reproduced, shows that this popular air, 
better known in connection with O'Keeffe's rollicking 
drinking song, was also used as a Jacobite political poem. 
The chorus and name of the air, i.e. " The little full jug," 
show that its true intent is bacchanalian. We find this 
chorus, like many others, attached to songs of different 
significance. Petrie, in his collection of Ancient Irish 
Music, p. 37, attaches it to a verse of a lullaby: 

" My love is upon the ri\-er, 
And he rocking from wave to wave ; 
A tree without foliage over his head 
And what does my Love want a-straying there ? " 

(see also Gaelic Journal, viii., 1898, p. 224). 

" Eamonn an Chnuic " or " Ned of the Hill " is founded 
on the history of a famous outlaw named Edmund O'Ryan, 
born in Shanbohy, Co. Tipperary, late in the seventeenth 
century. His father possessed considerable property in 
his native county, but his wild career led to his outlawry. 
The piercing note of the words and of the air of the same 
name is typical of much of the poetry of the period. 
" Ned of the Hill " lies buried near Faill an Chluig in the 
barony of Kilnemanagh, Co. Tipperary. Some versions 
give several other verses, of a different character. It is 
a love-song as given by Hardiman, " A chuil aluinn 

NOTES 361 

deas," i. p. 268, and by Mangan in his Poets and Poetry 
of Munster, p. 264. The literal translation here printed is 
from Mr. P. H. Pearse's contributions in the Irish Review, 
Dublin (November 1911), p. 437. Mr. Pearse says, 
" ' Eamonn an Chnuic ' is commonly looked upon as a 
love-song, but I feel sure that to its shaper and to those 
who first heard it, the figure of the outlaw, driven by 
rain-storm and bullet-storm and beating against the 
closed door, mystically symbolised the lonely cause of 

" O Druimin donn dileas," an early Jacobite song, 
sometimes supposed to apply to Prince James Charles 
Edward, but more probably to Ireland itself under the 
symbolic name of the " Beloved white-backed dun cow." 
Original in Hardiman, ii. p. 145. See also in Petrie's 
Ancient Music of Ireland, p. 1 16, a translation by O'Curry. 

" Do you remember that night ? " Original in Petrie's 
Ancient Music of Ireland, p. 142. He says it was written 
down for him by O'Curry. The account given by him 
of its origin does not seem to suit the words. 

"The Exile's Song." Original in Gaelic Journal. 
vol. vi., No. 7, 1895, p. 108. Composed by an emigrant 
named M'Ambrois (Mac Cambridge), and taken down 
from James M'Auley of Glengariff and James M'Naughten 
of Cushendall. 

"The Fisherman's Keen." From Crofton Croker's 
The Keen in tht South of Ireland (Percy Society, 1844), 
p. 77. It was communicated to Mr. Croker by Mr. 
Maurice O'Connell. A literal translation, taken down 
from the lips of Mrs. Harrington, a professional " keener " 
of Co. Cork, is given in the same author's Researches in 
the South of Ireland. Unfortunately the original Irish is 
not preserved by him, nor is the name of the lady given 
who, he tells us, wrote the poetical rendering. 

"The Boatman's Hymn." Taken from Sir Samuel 
Ferguson's Lays of the Western Gael, 1888, pp. 162-3. 
Original in Hardiman, ii. p. 383. 


" Keen on Art O'Leary " by his wife. Original pub- 
lished in Mrs. Morgan J. O'Connell's The Last Colonel of 
the Irish Brigade (Kegan Paul, 1892), vol. ii., Appendix A., 
and reprinted with some corrections in the Gaelic Journal 
(vol. vii., Old Series, No. 74, May 1896), p. 18. Some 
corrections and additions are made in the following 
number (June 1896). Crofton Croker, in his Keens of 
the South of Ireland, tells us that he endeavoured to 
recover this dirge but without success. It is a true 
example of the spontaneous " keen," with its short 
broken lines, containing in quick, natural succession, 
appeals, reminiscences, laments ; moving backwards and 
forwards as the irregular promptings of grief and affection 
dictate without form or premeditation. It is, however, 
lifted into the sphere of fine poetry by its exceeding 
simplicity, and by the passion of grief expressed in its 

The circumstances in which the poem had its origin 
are particularly tragic. Art O'Leary had been an officer 
in the Hungarian service, but he returned to Ireland, 
where he had a considerable property in Co. Cork, and 
where his handsome person and distinguished manners 
made him very popular. He married, against the wish 
of her parents, Eileen of the Raven Locks, as she was 
called from her dark hair, a daughter of Daniel O'Connell 
of Derrynane, grandfather of " the Liberator." The 
popularity of Art O'Leary excited the jealousy of a 
neighbour, a Mr. Morris, whose horse had been beaten 
in a race by O'Leary's beautiful mare. Taking advantage 
of the Penal Laws, which did not permit a Catholic to 
possess a horse valued at more than $, he demanded 
the mare from Capt. O'Leary for this sum. O'Leary 
refused, saying that he " would surrender his mare only 
with his life." A local magistrate immediately proclaimed 
him an outlaw ; soldiers were sent to lie in wait for him 
as he was returning home at night, and he was shot 
through the heart near Carrig-a-nimmy, in May 1773. 
His wife was informed of her husband's death by the 
return of the mare without its rider. It was many years 
before his body was even allowed to be buried in conse- 
crated ground. Morris was tried for the murder, but 

NOTES 363 

acquitted ; he was soon after shot in his house by Arthur's 
brother. Art O'Leary's grave is to be seen in the nave 
of Kilcrea Abbey, Co. Cork ; the inscription states that 
he was only twenty-six years of age when he died. 

"Prologue to 'The Midnight Court'" (Cuirl an 
Mhcadhon Oidhche), by Bryan Merryman. The long satire 
of which we give the Prologue has been published by 
Mr. Richard Foley (Riscard O Foghludha) (Hodges, 
Figgis & Co.). 

" Hymn to the Virgin Mary." Original in The Poems 
of Egan O'Rahilly (ist ed. ( Irish Texts Society, vol. Hi., 
1900), p. 290. The author, Conchubhar or Conor 
O'Riordan was a native of Co. Cork, where he taught 
the classics and other subjects to the youths of his 
district. He wrote, about the same time as Gray, a 
" Meditation in a Country Churchyard," to which this 
very beautiful address to the Virgin forms the Epilogue 
or "Binding" (ceangal as it is called in Irish). The 
whole poem is included in the appendix to Rev. P. S. 
Dinneen's edition of O'Rahilly's poems. 

" Christmas Hymn." Original in Dr. Douglas Hyde's 
Religious Songs of Connacht (T. Fisher Unwin, 1906), 
vol. ii. pp. 224-6 ; from an old North of Ireland 

" O Mary of Graces." Ibid., p. 161. Taken down by 
Miss Agnes O'Farrelly from a lad in the Aran Islands, 
Co. Gal way. 

"The Cattle-shed." Original in Timthirid Chroidhe 
ncamhtha losa or The Messenger (published by Gill & Son, 
Dublin), p. 90. The following nine poems and fragments 
are from the same publication, vol. i., Parts 1-4. 

" The White Paternoster." Ibid., p. ?8. The two ver- 
sions of this favourite charm here given, of which the 
second is translated from the original in a Kerry journal, 
An Lochran (October 1900), should be compared with the 
copies printed by Dr. D. Hyde in his Religious Songs, 
vol. i. pp. 362-70. 


"A Night Prayer." This fragment and the eleven 
succeeding prayers were taken down in Irish among the 
Decies of Co. Waterford by Rev. M. Sheenan, D.Ph., and 
have been published by him in his Cn6 Cdilleadh Craobh- 
aighe (Gill & Son, Dubh'n, 1907). 

"The Man who Stands Stiff." From Dr. D. Hyde's 
Religious Songs of Connacht, vol. i. p. 101, taken down 
from the mouth of Martin Rua O'Gillarna (in English, 
Red Martin Forde) of Lisaniska, Co. Galway. He spoke 
no English. This poem is a sample of much of the popular 
religious poetry dealing with the approach of death and 
the danger of continuing in evil courses. 

"Charm for a Sprain." This and the succeeding 
charms are taken from Lady Wilde's Legends, Charms, 
and Cures of Ireland (Chatto & Windus). It is unfortu- 
nate that Lady Wilde does not give either her originals 
or her authorities. 

" Before the sun rose at yesterdawn." Original in 
Walsh's Irish Popular Songs, 2nd ed. (Gill & Son, Dublin), 
p. 146. Edward Walsh, who translated into English 
verse a great number of Irish popular songs, lived between 
the years 1805-50. 

" The Blackthorn." One of those favourite old songs 
of which there are many versions, and verses in one that 
are not in another. Like many another Irish song, it 
seems to be a colloquy between a maid and her lover, 
and it is often difficult to tell if it is the lad or the girl 
who is speaking. My version is the one printed in Miss 
Borthwick's Cs6l Sldhe, ii. p. 18 (an excellent collection 
of old Irish songs), with two verses added from the version 
in Dr. D. Hyde's Love-Songs of Connacht (T. Fisher Unwin, 
!893), p. 30. The poem is sad and troubled. Dr. Hyde 
says, " There was an old woman in it, long ago, who used 
to sing it to me, and she never came to the verse 

' Although the rowen-berry tree is high, &c.,' 
that she used not to shed tears from her eye." We can 

NOTES 365 

well believe it. Hardiman (i. p. 234) has published a 
different version, and Miss Brooke another in her Reliques 
(1816), p. 306. 

" Pastheen Finn," or " Fair little Child." Original in 
Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy, i. p. 217. Dr. Hyde gives 
a quite different version in his Love-Songs, p. 65. We 
find the curfa or chorus attached to different songs. Sir 
Samuel Ferguson's version will be found in his Lays of 
the Western Gael (Sealy, Bryers, Dublin, 1888), p. 152. 
Hardiman considers that it is an address to the son of 
James II, under a secret name. 

" She." Original in Miss Brooke's Reliques of Irish 
Poetry, p. 232. 

" Hopeless Love." Given as an example of an old 
Irish metre called Dibide baise fri toin, but this poem 
was not actually written in this metre. 

" Would God I were." Original in Hardiman, i. p. 344. 
Mrs. Hinkson's setting of the Irish words will be found in 
her Irish Love-Songs (T. Fisher Unwin, Cameo Series, 

" Branch of the sweet and early rose." William 
Drennan, M.D. (b. 1754), died in Belfast in 1820. 

" 'Tis a Pity." Original in Cldirseach na n-Gaedhil, 
Part ii., 1902 (Gaelic League Publications). Ceol-sidhe 
(p. 92) gives a different version. There are several other 

"The Yellow Bittern" (An bundn buidhc). Original 
in Clairseach na n-Gaedhil, Part v., and Ceol-sidhe, p. 12. 
This translation appeared in the Irish Review, Dublin, 
November 1911. 

" Have you been at Carrack ? " Original in Mangan's 
Poets and Poetry of Munster (J. Duffy), p. 344. Walsh 
thinks it is a song from the South of Ireland. 

" Cashel of Munster." There are various versions of 


this popular song, set to its air " Clar bog deil." One 
used by Walsh was, he tells us, given to him by a lady 
of Co. Clare. Ferguson's version is taken from Hardi- 
man, i. p. 238. 

" The Snowy-breasted Pearl." Original in Petrie's 
Ancient Music of Ireland, p. n. Petrie was born in 
Dublin in 1789 and died in 1866. 

" The Dark Maid of the Valley " (Bean dubh an Gleanna). 
There are two versions and airs of this name. The original 
of Mr. P. J. McCall's poem is to be found in Miss Brooke's 
Reliques, p. 319. His own rendering was published in 
his Irish Ndinins (Sealy, Bryers & Walker, 1894), p. 50. 

" The Coolun." Original in Hardiman, i. p. 250. Two 
other versions will be found in Dr. Hyde's Love-Songs of 
Connacht (1893), PP- 7 I- 3- O ne of these beginning, "A 
honey mist on a day of frost, in a dark oak wood " is 
very tender and sweet. Its air is among the most beauti- 
ful that Ireland has produced. The " Coolun " was a 
lock of hair which, having been forbidden by statute, it 
became a mark of national sentiment to adopt. It was 
usually worn by youths, but in these poems the address 
is to a woman. 

" Ceann dubh dileas," or the " Beloved Dark Head." 
Original in Hardiman, i. p. 262. Dr. Hyde gives an 
additional verse in his Love-Songs. Burns claimed the 
air for Scotland, and Corri published it under the name 
of " Oran Gaoil," but it is undoubtedly Irish. 

"Ringleted Youth of my Love." From Dr. Hyde's 
Love-Songs of Connacht (T. Fisher Unwin, 1893), P- 4- 

" I shall not die for you." Original, ibid., p. 138. 

" Donall Oge." This pathetic song and the one follow- 
ing it, " The Grief of a Girl's Heart," seem to be portions 
of one long song, to the original nucleus of which quatrains 
have been added from time to time. Six stanzas were 
published by Dr. Hyde in his Love-Songs (pp. 4-6) under 

NOTES 367 

the title, " If I were to go West " ; it would seem that 
his " Breed Astore " (p. 76) may also be a portion of the 
same poem. Mr. P. H. Pearse, who published several 
other stanzas under the title of " Donall Oge," or " Young 
Donall," in the Irish Review of August 191 1, tells us that 
he wrote it down from the words of Denis Dorgan of 
Carrignavar, Co. Cork. The Irish will be found printed 
in his and Mr. Tadhg O'Donoghue's An t-Aithriseoir 
(Gaelic League, 1902), p. 7. In all these versions there 
are some stanzas alike and some different to the others. 
We have printed nearly the whole of them here under 
the two titles of "Donall Oge" and "The Grief of a 
Girl's Heart." Both are full of the most heartrending 
expression of loss and loneliness. Lady Gregory, in her 
Poets and Dreamers, published a literal translation of the 
latter poem. 

" Death the Comrade." Original in Dr. Hyde's 
Religious Songs, ii. pp. 288-90. 

" Muirneen of the Fair Hair." Original in Dr. Hyde's 
Love-Songs, pp. 10-12. Cf. another Munster version on 
p. 1 6, and one given by Hardiman, i. p. 354. 

" The Red Man's Wife." A popular theme on which 
there are many variations. We give two, the originals 
of both being taken from Dr. Hyde's Love-Songs, pp. 92 
and 94. The first is a Galway version, the second from 
Co. Meath. The latter was first printed in the Oban 
Times. Yet another version is given in Dr. Hyde's 
edition of Raftery's Poems, p. 210. 

" My Grief on the Sea." Original in Dr. Hyde's Love- 
Songs. It was taken down by him from an old woman 
named Biddy Cusruaidh or Crummy, living in the midst 
of a bog in Co. Roscommon. 

" Oro Mhor, a Mhoirin." Original in Petrie's Ancient 
Music of Ireland, p. 120. It was obtained by him from 
Teigue MacMahon, a peasant of Co. Clare. Mr. P. J. 
McCall's poem was printed in his Pulse oj the Bards (Gill 
& Son, 1904), p. 50. 


" The Little Yellow Road." Original taken down by 
Prof. John MacNeill in Co. Mayo in July 1894, and printed 
by him in the Gaelic Journal for that year (vol. v., No. 6), 
p. 91. There are several versions of An Boithrin buidhe ; 
see for another, Petrie's A ncient Music, p. 24. Mr. Camp- 
bell's translation, kindly contributed to this collection, 
has not been published before. 

"Reproach to the Pipe" (Mdsladh an Phiopa). The 
original, taken down in Galway, will be found in the 
Gaelic Journal (vol. vi., No. 5), p. 73. 

" Modereen Rue." Mrs. Tynan-Hinkson's poem is not 
a direct translation, but a spirited free version of the 
favourite Gaelic song of this name ; it was published in 
The Wind in the Trees (Grant Richards, 1898), p. 98. 

" The Stars Stand Up " (Tdid na realta 'n-a seasadh ar 
an aer). Original in Ce6l-sldhe, Part iv., p. 50, among 
other places. I have altered the last four lines. 

"The Love Smart." Original in Dr. Hyde's Love- 
Songs, p. 22. 

" Well for Thee." Original, ibid., p. 130. 

" I am Raftery the Poet." From Dr. Hyde's edition 
of Raftery' s Poems (H. M. Gill & Son, Dublin, 1903), p. 40. 

" Dust hath closed Helen's eye." Original, ibid., p. 330. 
Mr. W. B. Yeats has slightly worked over Lady Gregory's 
rendering. Mary Hynes, who " died of fever before the 
famine," has left a tradition of beauty behind her in her 
own country. " She was the finest tiling that was ever 
shaped," said an old fiddler who remembered her well. 
Baoile laoi (Bally lee) is a little village of some half-dozen 
houses in the barony of Kiltartan. Lady Gregory's 
beautiful rendering was published in an article by Mr. 
W. B. Yeats in The Dome, New Series, vol. iv. p. 161. 

NOTES 369 

" The Shining Posy " or " Mary Stanton," ibid., p. 320. 
We must remember that poor Raftery, who praises so 
warmly the beauty of women, saw them only with the 
eyes of his imagination, for he was blind. His verses 
seem to have been impromptu compositions. The classical 
allusions are very characteristic of the wandering bards, 
who liked to show off their acquaintance with the heroes 
of bygone ages. 

" Love is a Mortal Disease " (Is claoidhte an galar an 
grddh). Original in Smollln na Rann, a collection of 
Connaught songs made by Mr. Fionan McCollum, " Finghin 
na Leamhna " (Gaelic League, 1908). 

" I am watching my young calves sucking." This 
and the two following poems, " The Narrow Road " and 
" Forsaken," are translated from Dr. Douglas Hyde's 
little collection of original Irish songs called Ubhla de'n 
Chraoibh, or Apples of the Bough (Gill & Son, Dublin). 

" I Follow a Star." Translated by Seosamh mac 
Cathmhaoil (James Campbell) from his own Irish poem, 
and published by him in The Gilly of Christ (Maunsell 
& Co., Dublin). 

" Nurse's Song." Published by Mr. Alfred M. Williams 
in his The Poets and Poetry of Ireland (Houghton, Mifflen 
and Co., Boston and New York). The song is traditional, 
and its author is unknown. 

" A Sleep Song." Original in Gaelic Journal, May 
1911, p. 141. The song was partly taken down from 
Mr. McAuley Lynch in West Cork, and partly recollected 
from childhood by Mr. P. H. Pearse, the translator. 

" The Cradle of Gold." From Mr. Alfred P. Graves' 
Irish Poems, ii. p. 117 (Maunsel & Co.). Original in 
Petrie's Ancient Music of Ireland, p. 146. 

a A 


"Rural Song." Original in Petrie's Ancient Music of 
Ireland, p. 43. Joyce's Irish Music gives some extra 

" Ploughing Song." Original, ibid., p. 30. 
" A Spinning-wheel Ditty." Ibid., p. 85. 

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & Co. 
at Paul's Work, Edinburgh 


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